Take a whiff (or bite) of the thorny ‘king of fruits’ in typical all-you-can-eat buffets in West Malaysia
It's no secret that Malaysians are notorious food lovers, finding any occasion an excuse to feast. Throughout the Holy month of fasting for Muslims that is coming to an end, Ramadan bazaars scattered throughout every corner of the nation are the best places to savour the most authentic of local delicacies. The feasting continues with an important food festival that you'll either love or turn your nose up on: the durian season.
So bessotted are Malaysians with this thorny, pungeant fruit that they make it a mission to hunt down their favourite of the 27-strong species of durian available, or better still, go all out and try every single variety in these makan sampai kenyang or all-you-can-eat durian buffets. Family and friends would make it a date to go on at least one durian extravaganza, sampling as many durians as they can stomach. These buffets are in their peak from June to August, and held in major suburban areas usually from sunset onwards: open-air stalls with rows of durians on display and a scattering of tables and chairs are quickly occupied throughout the course of the night. Durian lovers will pick the stalls according to their budget or based on popularity, sit down and be served with durian after durian split open on the spot, till they can no longer eat another piece.
Durian season is truly a feast of its own to witness. Or if you are adventurous enough, why not do as the locals do and dig in to a bottomless flow of the 'king of fruits'? These are some well-known durian buffets in West Malaysia that are worth a visit:
Donald's Durian Section 19
Donald's Durian is probably one of the more famous durian buffets in town. The late Donald was the one who gave the sought-after Musang King durian its name, and he was also the pioneer of Petaling Jaya's famed 'Durian Street'. Patrons can enjoy a continous flow of durians, and should there be an unsatisfactory durian (old or too bland for your tongue), inform the lady boss and she will replace it for you.
Price: RM15 per head
Address: 15, Jalan 19/29, Seksyen 19, Petaling Jaya
Wai's Durian Section 19
Another favourite stall is Durianss2, a spacious, brightly-lit stall offering some of the most unique durian varieties like Jantung and Hor Lor. The stall was first set up in 2000 by Cheah Kim Wai, who sold durians from a cousin's farm in Pahang. Should you fancy something ice-cold, try the premium durian gelato that's made from pure D24 flesh.
Address: Jalan Harapan, Seksyen 19, 46300 Petaling Jaya
Bao Sheng durian farm, Penang
The home of a UNESCO World Heritage site is also known for serious durian feasts. Besides the opportunity to sample durians along the coastline of Tanjung Bungah, nothing is comparable to the experience of eating durian on the farm itself, the famous one being Bao Sheng farm. The package starts off with a tour of the orchard, an introduction to the different varieties of durian, and how to pick the ripest, followed by a spread of freshly-fallen organic durian. If you're hardcore, opt for a homestay to learn more about harvesting, caring and best of all, witnessing the durian drops.
Price: Starts from RM55
Address: 50 Mukim 2, Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang
6363 Durian Stall, Kepong Baru
Located in the famous 'durian street' of Kepong Baru is the area's first durian buffet. If you're looking to avoid the mob of durian lovers in Petaling Jaya but need to fix your cravings, make a trip to this stall. Expect less harried, more courteous workers, sweet durian kampung, and free water and tissue as part of the package.
Price: RM9 per head
Address: 6363 Durian Stall, Jalan Mergastua, 52100 Kepong Baru
Main photo courtesy of: The Malay Mail