04 Jul Bao Sheng Organic Durian Review
After trying out the organic durian pepper fish soup, I was curious about how the organic durian would taste on its own. I’ve never tried organic durian before, and actually, before trying out the durian fish soup, I didn’t even know organic durian was available in Singapore. In fact, I never even thought about pesticides used in durian farming before.
A quick google search revealed a webpage regarding durian food safety on the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) website that insecticides (to kill insects), fungicides (to kill fungi), and herbicides (to kill weeds) are indeed used in durian cultivation and that use of artificial ripeners using ethylene and ethephon post-harvest to control the rate of ripening are acceptable practices.
In fact, the SFA website even says that pesticides can be toxic to humans when consumed at high levels and for prolonged periods, leading to chronic effects such as the weakening of the immune system. SFA states that for durians sold in Singapore, the pesticide residues were found mainly on the durian shells. Instances of pesticide residues detected in the durian flesh are at extremely low concentrations and hence safe enough to eat.
Ok, that is somewhat cause for concern. So apparently, we are supposed to avoid touching the durian shells while eating durians with bare hands and wash our hands thoroughly after handling or opening the durian shells. I did not know that!
Back to the topic of organic durians, I saw on the Wang Yuan Fish Soup Facebook page that there was a fresh batch of Bao Sheng Durian available at the stall, so decided to give it a try. I headed to the stall since it was near my home to buy some durian to have a mini durian tea time party with my friend. There were 2 varieties of durian available, and so I got one each to compare the flavours.
For our mini durian party, we had the pale yellow “604” durian from a 30+ year old tree and brighter yellow “kunyit” durian from a 60+ year old tree. Thinking that the 60+ year old tree would have a stronger flavour, we started out first with the 604 durian. Our first bite into the 604 durian revealed a butterscotch, caramel moderately sweet flavour which was quite delightful!
We were wondering how the older tree’s fruit would taste, on first bite, my friend and I had different reactions. I had a piece of kunyit durian which was deliciously intense and a much richer and slightly fermented flavour than the 604, my friend, however, had a piece that was more pungent than he would like. For our next piece, we tried the 604 again and because of the difference in taste, the 604’s light buttery taste was even more enhanced after eating the kunyit, making it more enjoyable.
We alternated between eating the 604 and kunyit as, that seemed to bring out the difference in flavours the most, and we found that different kunyit pieces had different flavours. Some pieces were deliciously rich and flavourful, and in some pieces, the flavour was very intense and almost pungent.
Some pieces had a “numbing” effect on the tongue, which is supposedly one of the traits of the Bao Sheng durians. It’s sort of like the mala sensation you get when eating Sichuan peppercorns, but it’s a much milder “ma” sensation and without the heat. I’m not a particular fan of mala hotpot, so my personal preference is the 604, although I did enjoy eating both types together, as the contrast of the kunyit and 604 made it a more interesting experience. The seeds are relatively big compared to some of the durians that are available nowadays, but there is enough flesh to satisfy.
While researching more about the Bao Sheng durians, I found out that they come from a farm in the mountain tops in Penang where you can stay there in villas, and feast on durians. Although with the covid-19 situation now, like most places, this is not available now. Once we are able to travel again, I’d certainly like to visit this place.
Bao Sheng Durian Farm
150 Mk2 Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau, 11000 Penang, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Bao Sheng durians available in Singapore at the following places during this durian season:
Wang Yuan Fish Soup
519A Tampines Central 8, Singapore 521519