May 30 - By CHRISTINA CHIN
DURIAN lovers take note! Before you fork out some hard earned cash for the King of Fruits (which incidentally, is costlier this season due to the lean harvest), there are some general tips on choosing a good durian.
According to Bao Sheng Durian Farm co-owner T.S. Chang, several factors including the size, colour, texture and appearance are good indicators of whether you are getting your money’s worth.
“When it comes to durians, bigger is not necessarily better. Smaller ones will have fewer fruits but they are often tastier and more fragrant.
“In the old days, people preferred Thai durians because the flesh is thicker. But in recent years, the vote is for Malaysian (or more precisely, Balik Pulau) durians because they are more fragrant, thanks to Penang island's optimal soil and weather conditions.
“True durian connoisseurs look for quality rather than quantity,” he told StarMetro du-ring a visit to his estate in Sungai Pinang re-cently.
He also advised customers to always “inhale”.
“Pick up the fruit and hold it close to your nose.
“Look for the fruit that omits the strongest and most overwhelming (which non-durian lovers will describe as pungent) scent.
“If the scent is strong, it means that the fruit is ripe. Once you are happy with the strong scent, shake the fruit – a good fruit will have an echo because the flesh inside is not stuck to the husk,” he smiled, adding that fruits with a yellowish hue were not fresh.
“Brownish and greenish durians would be your best bet. But to be sure, take a closer look at the stem – if it is green and damp, it means that it has just dropped off the tree. Within a few hours, durian stems dry up,” he explained.
Chang also revealed that fruits from older trees were better than those from younger ones.
“Durian trees can bear fruit until they are about a century old. Unfortunately, unless you are an expert, you will have to ask the seller whether the fruit is from an old or young tree,” he said.
“Finally, once you have made your selection, tell the seller to make an incision to allow you to have a peek at the flesh inside.
“What we are looking for is a wrinkly texture. Also, use your finger and poke the flesh lightly – the thin layer of ‘skin’ should not break,” he added.