717 Trading: No Money Don't Learn to Eat Durian!

With smart


I think it was my brother-in-law who told me this account of him going up to the Durian Seller when he was still a kid, enquiring about the Durians he was selling. The Durian Seller asked him whether he had any money, to which he replied "No". The Durian Seller then scolded him in Hokkien: "bor lui ai orh jia liu lian?" (No money want to learn to eat Durian?!).

According to a Harris Poll, the least trusted occupations in the US are actors, lawyers and stockbrokers. I think in the Singapore context, Durian sellers must be one of the top three. How many of us have been tricked by a Durian Seller before? Oh yes, I have heard of and experienced first hand, how they switch Durians, rig the scales, try selling you the ones with the worms in it, and trick you into thinking that a Thai Durian is a D24. Thankfully, there are some reliable ones around and when you find one, people tend to stick with them. So I am sure that many serious Durian lovers out there have their own personal Durian broker.

Durians are just such an interesting topic that I could write quite a few blogs on them. From the way they make your throat sore, to the urban legend that one can die from eating Durian together with whiskey. In fact, there people have been documented to have died from eating too much Durian as in the case of a kidney failure patient who died of high potassium levels. (Durians are high in potassium). I am not sure if there has been cases of diabetics slipping into diabetic coma due to sugar high sugar levels, but I won't be surprised.

One of those things that have always puzzled me in my medical profession is how Durians can cause sore throats. Of course the Chinese attribute it to heatiness, but I have yet to settle on a satisfactory physiological explanation for it. Our western medical textbooks certainly don't have a chapter on "Durianitis" (Sore throat caused by Durian). I suspect it may have something to do with how the smell can linger on your fingers for such a long time. The same tenacious substance must also linger at the back of your throat for a prolonged period of time, thus causing inflammation. Funnily, in my years of practice, very few people have ever consulted me for a Durianitis. I guess it is because the remedy is already quite well known. At any rate, there isn't a Anti-Durianotic for Durianitis and I have never had to issue an MC for a Durian sore throat. (At least nobody ever admitted to it)

I guess when it comes to Durian, the D24 is perhaps the best known brand around. But this one is getting so common that our very smart Malaysian neighbours have come up with hybrids in order to get Singaporeans to dig deeper into their pockets. So nowadays, D24 is no longer the best. You've got Mao Shan Wang (Cat Mountain King), XO and a list of D numbers from 1 to infinity. I bet you that in 20 years' time, we will be dealing with D8878 or something like that. So I thought it would be interesting to actually blog a few of these money grabbers.


Mao Shan Wang $18 per kg

First up is the popular Mao Shan Wang (Cat Mountain King) which is the current hot favourite. The flesh is a deep golden colour and is sweet and creamy with very little fibre. Quite a safe bet if you are trying to impress someone. But be wary. The deep yellow colour indicates a high sulphur* content and you might want to make sure that you are not caught in a lift with your boss or your first date for a prolonged period of time after eating this! Even though opinions on the smell of fresh Durians is equivocal, you can be certain that the reaction to the smell of Durians after they have been processed by the body is quite universal. 4.5/5

*Sulphur is the main ingredient for hydrogen sulfide which is what makes fart smelly



D1 $10 per kg

The D1 is good for those who don't like things too sweet. Yes, the same people who order Kopi "C" Siu Dai (White coffee with less sugar) also ask for "Liu Lian Siu Dai". This one has a pastey, dry texture and a milky taste to it. I was told that the milky taste appeals to a lot of kids. I guess as parents, we would like to think we are doing our kids a favour by feeding them something that has milk associated with it, kinda like giving them Kinder Buenos eh? 4/5


Golden Phoenix $18 per kg

The Golden Phoenix is good for those who are going for a really good Durian which is still relatively good value for money. The Durian in the picture is actually quite small, about the size of my hand and only weighs 0.5 kg. However it is very fleshy and the seeds are all tiny. So you get quite a bit of flesh for a such a small Durian.


Golden Phoenix

The taste of the Golden Phoenix is actually quite good. It is sweet and creamy, perhaps just slightly less pungent than the Mao Shan Wang. It is the most "value for money" amongst the $18 per kg Durians. 4.25/5


D100 $18 per kg

As always, I've kept the best for last! The D100 is a new hybrid of Durian which is just hitting the market, so it is still relatively uncommon. Durian lovers who like Durian which have a bitter bite will be very pleased when they see the slightly grey tones in the yellow flesh.



Its flesh is thick and super creamy and the slightly bitter taste that is darn shiok! It's got my vote for best Durian of the lot! 4.75/5 However, because it is a new cultivar, stocks are limited, so you will have to call up first if you want to go specially to try this one.

717 Trading is probably one of the most renown Durian sellers in Singapore. Rumour has it that SM Goh actually procures his Durian from here as well as many Mediacorp artistes and Hong Kong stars. Their autographed Durian gloves line the wall of the stall.

Owner, Mr Goh has built up a reputation for himself over 30 years because of his integrity when it comes to selling Durians. It does go to show that honesty is the best policy over the long term. Besides that, he is also involved in the yellow ribbon project by getting all his Durian pastries baked by prisoners so that they can learn a useful trade in preparation for their release back into society.



For those who don't like to get their fingers dirty, but still want to enjoy Durians, the Durian puff might be a good alternative. The Choux pastry is competent, but not as soft and fluffy as I would like. However, this is made up by the rich and creamy D24 Durian cream filling. For me, I still prefer to eat the fruit rather than all the other derivations, be it ice cream, cakes, etc etc. But if you are into Durian puffs, this one is not bad and certainly has one of the best Durian fillings I have come across. Not surprising since it comes from a Durian seller. 4/5

Conclusion

I am no Durian expert and in the past, I was usually quite happy just eating the $5 Durians during peak season. However, now that I know better, life might not be quite the same again! As they say, ignorance is bliss. Aiyah, remember hoh, "No Money Don't Learn to Eat Durian!"

717 Trading
22 Yio Chu Kang Road

#01-01 Highland Centre

HP 96751821

www.717trading.com

Mr Goh Kwee Leng
Call first to check if stocks are in!

54 comments:

jo said...

This is one of my favourite durian puffs! :D

Anonymous said...

Dear Doctor,

I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work!

Note: Could you please change the color scheme on your blog? The black background against the yellow fonts really hurts/strains my eyes :(
I will much appreciate it if you could change it to a white background and regular black font? Thanks!!!

poison ivy said...

never liked durians, my friends say i'm not a singaporean! haha! its mainly that pungent smell that lingers long after we're done eating that turns me off.

motd said...

It's 0321HR now and I have a craving for durians after reading your entry on it..

Guess I satisfy my craving by tomorrow.

SCS butter said...

Moa Shan Wang is it the same as Chu Chiao?

Anonymous said...

Don't be a sucker for branded durians and pay thru your nose.

ieat & itreat said...

So are you saying that there is no difference between branded durians and your normal durians?

duaroti said...

I love the Durian Coil here!

sumosumo said...

the numbering system is just to identify the different taste and textures that different durian trees possess. i guess the lucky numbers like 1, 3 and 8 are used frequently to make it easier to identify the durian breeds.

there is the 101, 88, 21, 3, 7, 17, 13 and 8, that i know of. there is also the hong zhou, or red wine (i think) which flesh is a reddish - orange hue. this is one of the best durians around which has won competitions in Penang etc. i have only eaten this twice in my life. this breed, the tree produces very little fruit per tree, hence the taste of each fruit is very rich.

ieat & itreat said...

Sounds like we have found our resident Durian expert! Have you tried D100 before?

Let me know when the hong zhou is in season. Sounds like it would make a good picture.

sumosumo said...

did i mention that i hv a durian plantation in malaysia...? ;-P

sumosumo said...

my bad, its called ang hei (hokkien). red prawn. not red wine. hong zhou is my semblance of hakka, how they pronounce it, albeit my very poor interpretation.

also the natural durian season is june/july and year end. i tend to avoid durians in off season, as there are famers who will inject "stuff" according to my malaysian relatives who are have more local knowledge -to make their durians bear fruit in the offseasons. so u dont really know what goes into it.

this is not substantiated of course, but caveat emptor.

Anonymous said...

A tip from the older folks to getting rid of the smell from fingers.

Get some water and pour it into the empty cavity of the durian shell and then wash your fingers using this "bowl". Some versions say add some salt into the water.

Supposed to work very well.

Adriane

Anonymous said...

What is a normal durian?

Nilmandra said...

Gosh this is making me crave durians... in the middle of England! :( I love the sweet and creamy ones, not so keen on the bitter ones although durian connoisseurs insist those with a slightly bitter taste are better. Oh well, to each his/her own. More than enough durian varieties to go around! :)

THUNK Pte Ltd said...

i used to like durians, i can eat one whole durian by myself when i was a kid... as i grow older, i start to hate the smell that lingers on my finger, the smell of durian when i pee haha...

And partly i stop eating is becos i will grow many ulcers once eating it.. and becos its heaty. Do fruits grow in hot countries tends to heaty? example tropical fruits like mango, longan, durian?

Blur Ting said...

Aiya, I should have read your blog earlier! Yesterday my friends who are visiting from USA wanted to eat durians. I brought them to the first place that came to my mind - Geylang.

To make matters worse, I parked at the first stall I saw. There were not many durians on display and the 4 durians that we ate were too mushy, soft and not very good.

When I asked the owner for more bitter durians, he said this season's durians not so good.

After we had finished, we drove down Geylang road and saw so many other stalls all stocked with so many nice looking durians. I was kicking myself!

Indigo said...

I'm trying to organise a durian farm excursion for my organisation and would like to know if anyone has any "kang tao"? I've heard stories of trips to durian plantations where the quality is far from those you might expect for a normal D24. As such, I am hoping to get better recommendations from fellow tam chiaks!

Holy Drummer said...

My favourite variety is the Mountain Cat, but the usual 'kampong' ones are cheap and good enough for me. D24 too overhyped and usually overpriced.

I also recall trying a very nice D2 with slightly red flesh - don't know if it's the red one you all are talking about - somewhere, but definitely not in Geylang.

NEVER, EVER go to Geylang for durians. I got cheated big time =x And if anyone had tasted 'true' XO durians (if they even exist hurhur), pls do recommend.

sumosumo said...

HD - unless u know the geylang stall owners very well, pls dont go there for durians...

i hv experienced many a time - they give you a good one, attract u and then subsequently give u shitty ones. else they will pry open a durian which has already split.

the usual tricks of the durian trade..

Holy Drummer said...

Ya lor, the cheater already pried open the durian and insisted that I pay, though I had not made up my mind.

I've learnt my lesson already.

No money, don't 'learn' to eat durian.

How apt.

sh said...

agreed with Anonymous . not too keen with the new layout and font. but i guess i dont view it from the mobile apps...so nowadays i just look at the rss and if it's an intriguing post, then i put up with the fonts and read up. like this durian post...worth the pain in the eyes. :D

jems said...

717 trading do corporate events. We had one for our customers. Got money can do anything heh. I often opt for durian desserts or snacks as it is less messy. I LOVE Goodwood Park durian puffs, cakes, rolls, crepes etc. Tried them all before :P
There's also this stall selling durian tau sa piah at the basement at Vivo City. It's really good!!

Machi said...

I guess everybody gets cheated buying durians.

Nowadays, I will bring the whole family and eat there. If you find that the durians are not good you can change it on the spot.

So far this has worked for me.

Bashful Hunter said...

wah lao, mouth water liao....bo jio lor.

smart said...

Indigo, the best is to find a friend's farm. There u can eat all grades, so places like Tangkat, Potian are ok. Unfortunately I got no lobang nowsaday.Maybe u get Mr. Goh the boss of 717 to help. He told me he dont own the durian farms in Malaysia. But then u must decide what type of durian u want. I prefer the D18 from Tangkat.

smart said...

Some ways to check a good Durian: 1. Check the stem. Must be white n not dry n dark. 2. Durian do not have crack lines. 3. Shake the durian and hear if there is sound then it is ripe n meat is thick.4. The durian must be pricky when u round your hand over it. 4.Smell the durian from the end of the durian.(Caution: it is not 100% sure to be correct, just my experience).Good Luck!

sumosumo said...

my durian picking tips.

first thing: check the stem and crack lines. stem white, means fresh, and no crack lines means the durian hasn't split in our hot weather.

2ndly: durian mustn't be too heavy relative to its size. this takes experience. if its really heavy, or feels dense, means that likely you will have soggy durians, or large seeds and little flesh. it has to be pretty light to the feel when u heft the durian.

3rdly, shake it. if u feel the seeds inside knocking the shell, chances are its a good durian. it means that the flesh is thick and relatively dry, not soggy.

good luck! i like to pick the gems amongst the $1 - 2 pile sometimes, for the fun of testing my durian picking skils.

otherwise, just pay up and buy the expensive ones.

Angela said...

sumosumo,

I like ur advice. I have been a durian lover since I was a kid and I can also quite instantly taste de difference if u were to blindfold me and ask de types of durian. Imagine I used to eat durians during their season (as a kid) for breakfast, lunch and dinner and NEVER once got sick.

I agree abt taking my picks in de $1-2 range of durians.

I hate D24, iz too unnaturally sweet and iz such a cheapo thrill to say u tasted de best durian when u eat D24.

I'd tried Mao San Wang, really no big deal. I prefer XO anytime...

BTW, in my personal encounter, I wouldn't recommend anyone to 717 unless u can claim from company for bringing foreign customers there for durians.

Iz a confirmed rip off with their overly priced durians.

I used to be their regular customer, so regular dat they would give me a call whenever their 'limited' best arrive and I will pay watever price they quote for them.

One time, I went and one of de brothers gave me (and in my opinion) some really ordinary durians which they claimed iz de best among the rest dat day and I really found no difference and was not too glad to pay for de price he asked from me.

Then de brother said to me, "If u ask me for de best and u got me to choose for u, u pay $xx price. But if u were to go choose urself, (pointing to de same basket which he picked for us earlier), I charge u 80% lesser!"

My, I got a shock of my life...
Iz either he is too arrogant, or we are suckers to pay for dat kind of sky high price he said.

My conclusion is, de durians which they r selling can be found elsewhere and definitely cheaper too...

I rather not eat durians than to feel sore after realising I'd been ripped off badly.

That was de last time I went there but I haven stop eating durians though. I found another durian seller at Geylang. Cant recall de exact address or Lor, but iz just after Shell petrol station with a 'laughing budhha' poster.

Mao San Wang is sold at $15 per kg there and XO is only $7-8 per kg...

Those 'liu liang ku' per basket is $20 bucks. Good to buy them n bring to de beach for picnic...and test ur skills to pry open them as well...BTW, we have a knife specially bot to open durians at home.. hee hee

So, sumosumo, can share w me where's more reliable to eat durian in geylang? Mayb we can go together.

BTW, both my children (3 years n 1 year old) LOVE durians, so if u see a family of 4 tucking away, u know iz us!

Regards ;)

ieat & itreat said...

Hey sumosumo, maybe we can organize a durian party the next season! Get a big group and you can give us all a hands on "No money can still eat durian" session!

angela said...

nah.... too big a group, u'll either scare away de sellers or bring us, lambs to de slaughter... ha ha ha

However, if sumosumo can organise one trip to Msia... M more than glad to join... BTW, prices there r in RM, and u probably dun really care even if they command $20 per kg....
u literally eat till u drop n drown in de sea of de big ol' D! Ha ha ha....

Anonymous said...

ieat,

Angela teach you difference between banded durians and normal durians. Also not be suckers to pay branded duians.

sumosumo said...

angela = i can bring u. my wife and her family has a regular seller which we go to. he won't "ketok" us. and if the durians are not good, he will tell us. so if you are game, contact leslie, we can organise one. but not too many people - group of 10 should be ok. Incidentally its not in season now, so durians are not so good. June is a good time.

les - durian trip to m'sia can be arranged. best way to do it is to go in a convoy. again, not too many people or logistics become difficult.

sumosumo said...

what we could do is also compete and see who can pick the best durians. i usually win, when i pick, vs my frien. haha...

ieat & itreat said...

Hey Anonymous,

Not nice to call people suckers. If you want to do it, at least let people who you are so that we are on even grounds. Not nice to do guerilla warfare and hide behind a mask of anonymity whilst insulting others.

angela said...

Let's not bicker over de invisible.. This is internet, everybody is free to voice opinions but not obligated to reveal ur identity...

We shld, concentrate on our thorny issues...
Yes, June, count us in... I drive a Wish, so let me know when is de tentative period and I'll block my leave... As for de one u frequent in Geylang, when r u going? Tmr how? But I am only available after 10pm, after de kids sleep... Let us noe!

Anonymous said...

ieat,

soory, dun mean to insult u but to learn from angela's bad experience. sure many others also got bad experience with durian sellers. so be careful not be be made suckers by them, charging high price or give lousy durians, unless u know them reasonably well.

sumosumo said...

angela - wow, u really like your durian eh...

i just went to my regular stall tonight. must be guinea pig. test first before bringing kakis - reputaton at stake.... ok, decent. but not fantastic, considering the ang hei and the really good and fresh stuff in my family durian farm that my tastebuds have been spoilt by....std around 3.25/5..

the stall guy said may is a good time, plenty of durians during that time. can arrange then. watch this space. else join the makan kaki list and email to leslie.

june - no need to take leave la.. day trip. saturday morning leave sg, evening come back. unless overnighter then need to plan logistics sat - thru sunday.

ieat & itreat said...

There is a section in the Forum where we organize makan sessions. Do use it. The forum requires registration with email address and also has a PM function so it is easier to communicate there.

angela said...

I'm keen in de ang hei...dun think i've tried b4...so I can definitely wait....

Meanwhile, to satisfy my cravings, I need at least some tonight...

Was out last night after de kids slept at 10pm, my regular stall was already closed.

The one I went to was at Lor 36 (saw de Lor last night), iz juz after Shell Petrol Station. Iz on de left side when u drive.

So which is de stall ur wife frequent? Lor wat?

sumosumo said...

angela, this is not the best place to discuss the finer points of durians.

go to the forum under Makan sessions - i ll open a thread there, and this conversation can continue.

Les, maybe we can organise a durian session in May. Check out the thread in the forum.

Indigo said...

Count me in for any durian makan sessions or trips!

Jack said...

I love durians bro any trips let me know

Durian Man said...

I heard Malaysian Durians are the best. is that true

Anonymous said...

So is anotone organising this trip

Dave said...

Guys so will we be having a durian session?

ieat said...

Hi Durian Man,

Yes Malaysian Durians are the best.....to Singaporeans. Thais would say theirs is the best.

Anonymous said...

Tell me where in Malaysia to buy durians?

khim said...

hi dave,

u can refer to e link below to find out more details on e durian session:

http://ieatishootipost.proboards50.com/index.cgi?board=makan&action=display&thread=42&page=2

Anonymous said...

blardy con shop. bought 2 durians that cost $15! the size of those 3 for $10.. no meat and meat sucks. im better off buying from shops along geylang. stay away unless u want to pay d24 price for the 3for$10 durians

Holy Drummer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holy Drummer said...

Yadda Yadda...

717 beats any of those in Geylang, as far as my trust in durian sellers' "tactics" and their quality (or lack thereof) are concerned.

At Geylang I was conned $30 bucks for one. single. durian. (6 seeds?! That's $5 per pathetic seed) It was worth at best, $5.

"No meat, and meat sucks. Stay away unless you wanna pay D24 price for the $5 durian.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, you guys makes my salivate!

Hottest topic ever!! So no money no durian?!!

Nobody can recommend cheaper version for the "poorer folks" here?

What Mao Shan Wan? D100, D24 or D1000...very coveted items huh...:-(

sumosumo said...

hi anon...
go to the forums.. (click on the top left)...
and go under makan sessions.. you will see we are organising a durian degustation tonihgt. unfortunately we are full, but you cn always try that stall on your own.. the price is one of the more reasonable ones around....

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