How to choose a ripe durian
Take a whiff along the seams or split lines of the fruit (not the base, which is where the skin is thickest), and you should get a light fragrance. If the smell is too overpowering, chances are the fruit is overripe, while a lack of scent indicates an unripe fruit. ‘You should experience a low level, earthy yet sulfurous smell, like fresh cut grass and scrambled eggs,’ says Lindsay.
Wiggle the stem: if it feels loose, comes off easily, or even breaks at the ‘bulge’ – known as the abscission zone – the durian is ripe. The colour of the stem also matters: when scratched with a nail, the brown stem should reveal a grass-green interior. Avoid fruits where the stem is missing, shriveled or dark brown throughout; chances are the fruit has been cut early.
Using a rag cloth (a Good Morning towel should be available at good durian stalls), hold the fruit to your ear and shake it. What you should hear are dull, subtle knocks; if it rattles around too loosely with no resistance, the fruit is overripe. Conversely, the absence of sound indicates an unripe fruit.
Place your thumb over one of the swollen lobes of durian – in between the thorns – and press down at where the skin is thinnest. ‘If the durian is ripe, the shell will actually give a little under pressure, like a hard sponge. If it’s not ripe, you might as well be pressing on concrete,’ says Lindsay.
Where to eat durian
Located in the carpark lot adjacent to the TTDI market, Durian King is where you’ll find an ample amount of chairs and tables occupied by large crowds when peak season hits. Aside from durians, the shop is also known for its generously sized durian cendol at RM15 a bowl.
If feasting on quality durian over the blaring of police sirens by the roadside is your idea of fun, then Donald’s Durian is a must-visit. Due to the current low season, Donald’s Durian is expected to open towards the end of July, so durian lovers will have to wait a little while longer.
This SS2 landmark is arguably one of the most organised durian shops in town, complete with online delivery services and its own collection of YouTube videos. Its tech-savviness aside, the shop has an exhaustive list of durians, including D2, Musang King, Durian Udang Merah and Durian Thraka.