Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cat Mountain King (猫山王) Private Party

The lions were invited by Mr Husky to join a bunch of Durian siao folks at a private party where the doors of a durian stall - specialising in just mao shan wang durians - stayed un-shuttered past its official opening hours for a night of merry-making.

Mr Husky's idea of a joke.
The group was given some simple tips, courtesy of the
young towkay, on how to spot the real McCoy from the
hoard of fakes in the market.
Angular, pyramidal spikes - check.
Brown star-fish on backside - check.
Pointed bulbous butt; unable to stand on its own - check.
Discernible brown crown around the stem - check.
The towkay also explained that durian sellers usually tap lightly on the husks
with the flat side of a knife to tell if the pungent pulp inside is moist or dry.
And the lioness was bluntly warned not to smell the fruit from the backside or
crown ("you want to take in insecticide issit?"). LOL.  
Quick, open up lah... ...
Wait, must weight first... ...macham like gold... ...

Consumed that night was a grand mountain of 19 mao shan wangs (anyone noticed the lucky number matching the stall's name) weighing in at 30.4kg in total, at a special group price of $15/kg.

The lions, too, were regaled with stories about China's voracious appetite for the pungent fruit; some local sellers are apparently helping to satiate that demand, sometimes processing up to 90 tons of puree for that major market. Scary. And this period can be considered the "first flower" in the cycle; the coming "second flower" is expected to be good due to the wet weather.  More great durians coming your way... ...

The whole experience left the lions in a dizzy confusion though; they tasted their way through a variety of bittersweet pulps - some wet, some dry, some with a tinge of cognac, some extremely bitter like cough syrup - on top of custard-like sweet ones. So is there a signature taste that unites all mao shan wangs in a way?  

This particular durian stall was also hawking yellow dragon fruits from Ecuador ("Colombian ones are second rate") at an eye-popping price of $7+ per ambrosial fruit. When Miss Honey Wine, the Penangnite, saw them, she basically went into a frenzy, grabbing two fistful of fruits ("very hard to find one you know"). She waxed lyrical about their honeyed, syrupy pale pulps that were a class above the plebian ones that we normally see at the market. Verdict: at this price point, only for serious connoisseurs. 

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