Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Durians in New York City!

Our friend Kheng was visiting us from Vermont over the weekend and she wanted to get her dose of Malaysian food as well as shop for some Malaysian groceries. She said that Burlington doesn't have any Malaysian restaurants and they only have a few Asian groceries stores (mostly small and pathetic Vietnamese stores). Sooooo, we figured the best place to take her would be Chinatown :D There are at least 5 good Malaysian restaurants there as well as a whole lot of Asian grocery stores. In fact, there is also a Malaysian grocery store that carries everything Malaysian, from Milo to Maggi Mee! After buying some groceries, we were on our way back to the PATH station to catch the train back to Jersey. We then saw something familiar among all the other exotic fruits at the roadside fruit stall on the corner of Mulberry and Bayard St.
Yup, they were selling durians! I initially didn't want to buy any (cos I knew they were Thai durians and have been frozen before) but Kevin kept on saying that we should try one. So we did. We asked the old uncle how much were the durians going for and he said $1.50/lbs. Not too bad I guess, I was expecting it to be more expensive. We picked out one and he weighed it. 7 and half, close to 8 lbs! The fruit stall uncle was kind enough to give us a discount, he said that he will sell it to us for $10! Sounds good to me =)
This is the first time I bought a durian that comes with a tag. Check this out. "Superior Quality". I do not know what the Chinese characters say but I am guessing it's the brand? The other side of the tag has a picture of a pig. Hmmm, I wonder why. Weird :P Anyways, we can't wait to open it up to see if it's really "Superior Quality"! LOL!
Now, usually back in Malaysia, we would get the guys at the durian fruit stall to open up the durians and put them in plastic containers for us. Since the fruit stall that we bought this durian wasn't a stall dedicated solely to durians, we had to take the durian back whole. No big deal I guess. While he was living in Malaysia, Kevin has seen how those guys open up a durian many times. He can do it :D I told him that all he needs to do is to cut open the bottom of the durian and I will pry it open. The whole process turned was relatively easy. Just chop chop chop and then pry open (just for the records, Kevin did it all by himself). I really expected it to be a whole lot harder.
There you go. That's what it looks like inside. It doesn't look and smell as great as Malaysian durians, but hey, it's pretty good for something that has been frozen before. The flesh looks firm and thick, mmmmm, can't wait to eat them!

Sooo, what does it taste like? As good as the fresh durians back home in Malaysia? Kevin, our professional durian taster took the first bite. Please excuse the way he eats the durian (with a spoon :P). That's how we eat durians in my family, so he is just following our lead. Hey, eating durians with a spoon is a great idea, you don't have to put up with stinky fingers later on! The first thing we noticed about the durian is that it doesn't smell. It does give out a little bit of smell but it wasn't overpowering, like how fresh Malaysian durians are. That kinda sucks a little, but I guess that's what you can expect from frozen Thai durians. Even though the flesh was quite firm and sweet, it was a bit watery. I am guessing it's also because the durian was frozen during shipping. Overall, I would say that it wasn't really half as bad as I expected it to be. Nothing close to the fresh durians that you can get back home in Malaysia though. However, if you are miles away from home and miss this yummy 'king of fruits', trust me, this is as good as it gets!


ICook4Fun said...

I wonder if you have the name and address of the Malaysian grocery store at Chinatown in Manhattan. I know there are two at Flushing Queens but it just too far to go there. Thanks

Charlene n Kevin said...

Sure! The name is Asia Market Corp and it's located at 71 1/2 Mulberry St. It's not a huge supermarket like Kam Man or HK Supermarket, but just a small store packed with Malaysian and Singaporean goodies! Reminds me somewhat of the sundry shops back in Malaysia. =)

ICook4Fun said...

Thank you Charlene.