Eat . Sleep . & Work Durian
About / This site is dedicated to showcase my journey and exploits in developing, maintaining, farm produce marketing and educating myself and those who are passionate about cultivating durian trees. My farm is a 4.07 acres that was initially a tertiary jungle land that is now a durian farm.
Above map is where my durian farm is located. Before I took over the jungle land in August of 2018, the land already has about 10 adult durian trees that was planted by my grandfather about 15-20 years ago.
Different from other durian enthusiast blogs on the internet which are written by tourist and fans of the fruit, my website content is from a viewpoint of a durian tree cultivator and a farm owner. Readers of my blog will get first hand insights and knowledge on what it takes to grow durian trees and to manage the farm.
Banned in some airport, hotels and by car rental companies across the world, the durian continues to make headlines and commercial attention by the normal person to multinational companies.
Most Europeans, Americans, Middle Easterners and Far Easterners may have never seen let alone taste this King of Fruits as we call it in South East Asia but your knowledge and perception shall be forever changed.
Where to find and eat durian in Tapah?
You maybe asking this question - well if its in-season you could find it being sold along main roads from Tapah town towards Jalan Pahang en-route to Cameron Highlands or Tapah road en-route to Teluk Intan. Further northbound (via trunk road and not the PLUS highway) the fruit is also sold in Gopeng town and southward in Bidor town.
Most durians sold in these places are 'kampung' durians and not the tastier, more expensive clone or cultivar varieties. I'll discuss about the differences of 'kampung durians' and the clone varities in my blog here.
How to select a good durian when buying?
Choosing which durians to buy could be a daunting task for the beginner, locals or foreigners alike. In general, first pick which type of durian cultivar that you want to buy. After deciding on this, the next steps are to satisfy these two criteria:
Is the clone or cultivar the correct type that you wanted to buy?
Some durian clone external appearances are very different from other clones while most looks similar to one another. Recognizing the physical external appearance and internal flesh criteria will ensure that the durian could be identified correctly.
Proper identification is crucial since market prices varies a lot between different high end, in-demand clones against the normal clones and the native varieties. Incorrect identification could lead to paying higher prices from the actual prices for a particular type of clone.
In terms of transparency of the durian sellers, well most of them are transparent when it comes to identifying the correct clones type but a small percentage are unsure or confused themselves with the clone types that their selling. I'm in the progress of putting up a page dedicated to the external physical identification of the commonly available durian clones in Malaysia.
Is the durian chosen meets the grade that it is selling for?
After you've correctly identified the durian clone is the one that you're intending to buy, the next step is to establish the grade of that particular fruit. Apart from its clone type, grading will also determine the price of the fruit. Criteria that needs to be assessed by the potential buyer are:
- Shape : Fruit shall have a uniform shape either oval or rounded which is consistent with the durian clone type. Any deformation will reduced its grading since a deformed fruit will lead to a deformed or reduced flesh volume.
- Weight : It shall have a weight at the top-end of that clone's particular weight range. A reduced weight even though within its acceptable range signifies less than ideal nutrition during the fruit bearing stage or a weak/diseased tree from which the fruit originated.
- Skin defects: Any skin punctures, holes, blackened skin or cracks signifies potential internal rotting and existence of pests inside the flesh. Cracks especially at the bottom of the durian tells the buyer that the fruit has dropped from its tree quite a few days ago and its not fresh and overripe.
Other things to look for when buying?
The below are some additional pointers which is not part of the grading process but still crucial in deciding which fruit to buy:
- Stalk end: White color on the stalk end indicates that the fruit dropped a few hours ago. After this, the end will turn to light brownish, dark brownish and then shrinkage will occur. Observing this will give any buyer an indication of how long the fruit has dropped and its level of freshness.
- Smell : Ripe fruit will have that strong durian smell while unripe fruit will have much lesser smell and may not smell at all. A sour like smell tells that the fruit is past overripe (smells like tempoyak or fermented durian flesh).
- Feel when shaken: When the fruit is shaken closely to the ear, a good, ripe flesh shall have a sound to it. This is because the flesh is loose but firm (not watery) and its not tight (means unripe).
What is the fair price when buying durian ?
Durian prices is something that have been in the local news in Malaysia for mostly the wrong reasons. Durian prices have been steadily increasing for the past 7 years - for cultivators, farmers and sellers it has surely been a boon, but for consumers and fans it's been bad news all the way. During the writing of this article, consumption does not show any reduction even with the elevated market prices. Any reduction of local consumption looks to be absorbed by the export market.
Going back, market prices depends on a few factors, the most important are:
- Location of purchase: The price difference is between durians sold in big cities compared to the fruit's native location of harvest. There is no significant difference between cities or between the same or adjacent harvest areas.
- Season (in or off) : Due to different weather patterns across the peninsular, the durian season may show scattered harvesting seasons. Some states are early while some are late while some others may be isolated. Off-season durians are most expensive due to scarcity, price deviation compared to on-season (peak) is about 25% premium. The cheapest price at during peak or middle of season while start of season and end of season is higher by 15%.