Durian season is in full swing, and the King of Fruits is cashing in on our cravings with all-you-can-eat spreads â€” a few of which you’ll be able to scent from a mile away. However one cafe has taken a barely completely different method, digging into the intricacies of durian by revealing a sometimes unseen facet of the pungent fruit.
At 99 Previous Bushes, a modern-looking cozy house tucked away within the sleepy Farrer Park neighborhood of hawker eateries and comfort shops, durians are the only obsession. Itâ€™s the retail arm of Fook Gor Durian Farm in West Pahang, Malaysia, and its title comes from the truth that the land is house to 99 previous durian bushes, which have flourished because the first seed was planted in 1986.
What began as a web based retailer in 2017 providing contemporary durians delivered every day to Singapore later expanded to a bodily store in 2018, bringing in Mao Shan Wang, D24, and Tekka varieties, in addition to provides from Fook Gorâ€™s household farms in Johor Bahru.
However that is no strange durian retailer. Certain, it sells the spiky fruit when itâ€™s in season, and it doles out durian muffins and desserts throughout off-peak months. But itâ€™s additionally lately set upon an unconventional path with the launch of its durian â€œomakaseâ€ expertise earlier this month, welcoming followers and inquisitive guests to the place.
Internet hosting as much as eight prospects over two weekly time slots, every about an hour lengthy, SukaWa (that means â€œas I wantâ€ in a mixture of Malay and Hokkien) takes you on a meals tour throughout unusual varieties whereas answering your questions on all issues durian (and typically past).
Anchored both by director and â€œChief Durian Officerâ€ Kelvin Tan, 35, or his enterprise accomplice Wan Chee Kang, 38, the classes are as entertaining as they’re academic and pleasurable. Gleefully, Tan introduces us to Wan, who goes by the nickname Ah Qiang, as a Bruno Mars lookalike. They’ve a resemblance going, however youâ€™ve gotta give props to the cafe for going all out to cement the comparability with a looping soundtrack of the American singerâ€™s 25Okay magic tunes.
When youâ€™ve settled into your excessive chair by the bar counter, Tan immediately makes you’re feeling relaxed as he chatters away about durians. Coming from a background in paper packaging gross sales, he confesses heâ€™s at all times been a fan of the fruit and eventually determined to take the leap to modify industries again in 2017. With SukaWa, he needed to interrupt down the boundaries in shopping for durian so prospects are extra knowledgeable and fewer apprehensive concerning the course of.
All through the â€œmeal,â€ Tan walks you thru the several types of durians, providing you with insights to their style profiles. You get to attempt at the least six durian cultivars plus limitless parts of Mao Shan Wang or D24, relying on the supply, together with a dessert starter of both durian choux puff or durian mousse, a ginger tea palate cleanser, and an entire coconut to â€œcoolâ€ down in any case that hearty (heaty?) feasting.
Because the classes are supposed to supply a peek into the world of durians, the workforce brings in a rotating mixture of husks from Johor, Pahang, and Penang in a restricted quantity meant just for SukaWa prospects. On our go to, we sampled seeds from the creamy and eggy D101, the more durable, fibrous D88, the floral, bittersweet Tekka (the deskâ€™s favourite), and the mild-tasting D1, which Tan says is sweet for alleviating rookies into appreciating the contentious fruit.
Different varieties you could possibly come throughout embody the pale and barely bitter D17, the gentle and candy Hor Lor, the sharp, bitter Golden Phoenix, and the intensely-flavored Black Thorn.
By the point the clock ticks previous an hour, youâ€™d have realized extra about durians than you ever knew. Tidbits we gathered embody how durian grades really say extra about their form or measurement than the standard, and the way the thorny fruit wants a little bit of time after falling from the tree to return into its full taste earlier than you eat it.
Information gathered, myths busted, and stomachs happy, youâ€™ll depart the cafe just a little happier (and heavier) than earlier than.
The following spherical of SukaWa classes begin from July 29-Aug 15; Tues, Wed and/or Thurs 4pm-5pm at 99 Previous Bushes, #01-277 Blk 46 Owen Rd. Reservations required.
Common opening hours: Each day 11:30am-9pm on off-peak interval, 11:30am-11pm throughout durian season.
9822-2495. $60/particular person.
MRT: Farrer Park
This text, This interactive â€˜durian omakaseâ€™ expertise options unusual varieties and limitless Mao Shan Wang (or D24), initially appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s main different media firm. Need extra Coconuts? Join our newsletters!