Distinctly Different Durian Delights

A fruit loved or hated, the durian has recently emerged as the king in various bizarre forms and the HYPE Team finds these new durian concoctions surprisingly tasty.

The chicken broth flavoured with chunks of durian is best savoured at the end to enjoy fully the richness of the aroma and creaminess of the durian. Photos by Frederick Asaph Law.

BY
TAN YAN HUI
Perspectives Editor of HYPE Issue #51

TANG JIA WEN
Publicity & Marketing Manager of HYPE Issue #51

LEE ZHI YING
Publicity & Marketing Manager of 
HYPE Issue #51

Published on
Jan 25, 2021

In June 2020, it was reported that six ambulances, two emergency vehicles and five first responder cars were deployed to a German post office after calls were made regarding a foul-smelling package. Investigations soon revealed what caused the commotion: four piquant durians.

Hailed in South-east Asia as the King of Fruits, the durian has earned its rightful place with its majestic and distinctive appearance. Even the Esplanade, Singapore’s magnificent theatre whose exterior resembles the spikes of the fruit, has been affectionately dubbed “The Durian”.

Response to its unique taste and smell has remained divisive throughout the years. Unlike the 12 employees at the German post office treated for nausea, those of us who grew up in sunny Singapore consider its fragrance and creamy texture superlative. In a quest to push the boundaries of our taste buds, the HYPE team set out on a mission to try new concoctions using the durian as the centrepiece.

Durian Steamboat – Boiled To Creamy Perfection

Of the four dishes we savoured, the durian steamboat was the unanimous favourite.

Nestled within the quiet 321 Clementi mall, Charcoal Thai boasts an unassuming yet cosy ambience. Aside from its affordable Mookata buffet, which begins at S$7.95 for students (minimum four pax), durian steamboat is offered as an additional add-on at S$14.95 with free soup refills.

Creative combination: The durian steamboat comes with free chicken soup refills enhanced with a sprinkle of gojiberries and sweet dates.

Aesthetically, the durian steamboat was a pleasant surprise compared to pictures online. Chunks of XO durian were submerged in a chicken broth, while sweet dates and goji berries added a refreshing pop of colour to the dish. The gold-plated steamboat added an oriental touch to the dish, boosted by the dreamy mist of steam,

The broth was aromatic with subtle durian undertones. We allowed the concoction to come to a boil before getting our first taste. With the chunks of durian flesh now integrated into the broth, we enjoyed its delicate balance of sweet and savoury. The sweet dates and goji berries added a natural sweetness to the broth, along with splashes of condensed milk which enhanced the creaminess of the soup base.

If you order the steamboat à la carte, you will find the taste jelak (overwhelming or nauseating) after a while because of the durian aftertaste and creamy consistency. To enjoy the soup better, we added mushrooms, fish and glass noodles. 

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Along with the added sweetness, the chunks of XO durian also gave the broth a relatively creamy consistency after some time.

Towards the end, the soup tastes like a rich and sweet fish soup broth.

internship during a pandemic

Black Charcoal Mao Shan Wang Durian Pizza – Love At First Slice

internship during a pandemic

Along with the added sweetness, the chunks of XO durian also gave the broth a relatively creamy consistency after some time.

Located at Jewel Changi Airport, the Four Seasons Restaurant is known for its unique halal-certified dishes infused with premium Mao Shan Wang durians. The restaurant’s cosy ambience makes it the perfect go-to spot for a quiet afternoon with friends and family.

As avid pizza and durian lovers, we had to try the Black Charcoal Mao Shan Wang Durian Pizza. The first thing that caught our attention was the aromatic blend of the fresh Mao Shan Wang durian and mozzarella cheese, topped with sunflower seeds and lettuce, tempting us to sink our teeth right in.

At first bite, we were hit by the creamy durian filling oozing out from the pizza slice. The bittersweet flavour of the Mao Shan Wang melds perfectly with the saltiness of the mozzarella cheese, making us reach for our next slice.

The thin charcoal crust keeps the usually overpowering durian flavour in check, acting as a subtle palate cleanser.

Interestingly, the sprinkle of sunflower seeds complements the other ingredients well with its slightly nutty undertone. Sold at S$26, the pizza is decently priced for a dessert pizza given its uniqueness and generosity of the durian filling.

Be warned that the durian taste gets a tad too overwhelming after a couple of slices and the crispness of the crust is compromised by the moist durian filling.

internship during a pandemic

Kampung Durian Fried Rice – A Must-Try For Non-Durian Lovers

internship during a pandemic

This ordinary-looking plate of fried rice has durian flavours infused in it, with durian piped on the edge.

Looking like an ordinary plate of ayam penyet (Indonesian crispy chicken rice), this dish came as a surprise. An interesting fusion dish which combines durian with traditional flavours from the Indonesian cuisine, it is no surprise that this is another crowd favourite from the Four Seasons Restaurant at Jewel Changi.

The fried rice has a moister consistency, with a softer texture due to the infused flavours from the durian flesh. Paired with cucumbers, tomatoes, ikan bilis (anchovies) and crispy fried chicken thigh, this combination was a pleasant sensorial experience.

Despite the slightly steep price of S$18 per serving, there is only a faint note of durian in a spoonful of rice. Overall, it is a well-balanced meal with a good mix of textures, like the crunch from the crackers, the sourness from the freshly squeezed lime and the tinge of spice in the fried rice.

For durian fans, this might not be a go-to as it missed the mark for us. However, this is definitely a must-try for non-durian eaters who are keen to acquire a taste for the pungent fruit.

internship during a pandemic

Durian Crispy Roll – Slight Sweetness With A Bitter Kick

internship during a pandemic

Each roll is served with a sumptuous portion of durian so it is definitely value for money.

Crumbly, soft and filled with luscious durian all at the same time, this appetiser sounds like a dream come true. This decadent, durian dream can also be found at the Four Seasons Restaurant in Jewel Changi Airport.

Coated with breadcrumbs, these mozzarella stick look-alikes have a soft, mushy durian inside which packs a strong punch. Initially sweet, replaced by an invited bitterness on your tongue, it helps to cut through the greasiness of the fried roll, making us want to go in for another bite.

internship during a pandemic

Three pieces of crispy durian roll served on a plate with excess oil is not the most appetising sight.

Although the durian flavour came through, the plating threw us off as three pieces of durian rolls were haphazardly tossed onto a piece of lettuce, with oil building up in the centre of the plate.

At S$9 for three rolls, this durian creation will give other durian-infused desserts a run for their money with its good blend of textures that will make you overlook its other flaws.

internship during a pandemic
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