October 12, 2009

Tiny in Size but Big in Taste : The "Isu"

The Isu is a tiny species of local Sarawak durians. Only the size of your palm (measuring 8 inches or less than 90 cm) it usually gives you about 8 succulent seeds in each fruit. But you can be surprised by the amount of fleshy durian you can eat. The flesh is fragrant and "lunak" or rich and soft and buttery. It is just nicely sweet. Unforgetable is the word for Isu if you can get the right one that is.

Because of global warming the isu is now available even in July in some places. Years ago it could only ripen in December around Christmas time. And it looks as if when the upper river has this fruit in the year the lower river does not have it. Sometimes the isu does not fruit at all through the whole valley in one single year or two.

Those who believe in mysticism would say that the "fairies" are not happy. The fish and animal life and the fruits may be gone too because of ecological disturbances in my opinion. But how do you explain such things to the elders who have lived in the jungles for a very long time peacefdully and have not gone to school? They have seen bulldozers coming into their environment and have accepted men and machine willingly.

A good bunch of three or four isu can set you back RM15/- to RM20/- . But do not be taken for a ride when the vendor tells you that the isu is from his mother's trees. Some of the isu you get in town can be stolen from someone's garden (as is often the case) or taken from the jungle or abandoned temuda (small holding). Very few people grow the isu nowadays as modern farming has been promoting the Thai varieties or the "government" varieties.

One of the best species of the king of the Fruits in Malaysia is called Mou Tang and sold at 30 ringgit per kg in Selangor seldom fails to delight customers and connoisseurs but I will go for the "isu" any time.


Superman said...

I saw that in the market but never buy it before as many said it is not very nice compare to those big durian. I guess I will try it next time after reading your post. Wait for me 'Isu'.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I hope you get a good man to sell you good durians. These ones I had were really good. Sponsored by a member of the LaKiput clan who owns a large tract of the Tutoh Apoh Valley. they really know their fruits and fish of course e.g. ikan Tapah....

Ann said...

Did you see my photos of the durian seller in Miri? I think they were Foochows.


Is the ISU what we call mountain durians?

I am the self proclaimed Queen of Durians.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
Nice to hear from you. Isu is just another type of durians and it is called by many different names. The red ones are called tutong which give the name of Tutong to Brunei.

I think the Foochows called Isu with a name that is rather un-PC. cannot mention it here.

I will check on the other names soon as I had my first lessons of the local names was not too long ago...

You are a lucky girl - Queen of durians!!

Come to Miri and you can enjoy lots of good durians from Kong Lama and Marudi.


Ah Ngao said...

yeah,in Kuching they calls it "shua liew liang"
- wild durians(in fact all are from the wild,...hehe).there's another type with very orange flesh - sort of kerosene smell.i memang gian durians .

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hahaha Ah Ngao

so many people I know also gian durians. But I am a little allergic to them (just one or two seeds each eating). So I have saved a fortune for my family. hhhhhaaaaaa.

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