It is hard these days to "choose" durians by smell, by the thorns, by the trees, by anything or by any formula....you have to be quite an expert. (However you have the excellent alternative of buying just the durian without the thorny skins in the supermarket at really high prices!!)
Most people prefer to know the "tree" like what my father used to do...He would go to Kampong Nangka in Sibu and look for Haji whose mother's trees had the best durians in the whole of the then small Sibu town.
And still today when you buy from some kampong folks...they would tell you "these durians are from my mother's trees..and I am not lying..."
In other parts of Sarawak like in Miri where durains come from as far away as Kuching or even Sabah..you have to ask..where are these durians from?
Many of the fruit vendors would say..."These are from Serian" (another well known durian producing place in Sarawak)...or "These are from Long Lama..."
Years ago in Sibu as active youths we waited for the evening motor launches from Kapit. where some of the best Sarawak durians were found in the 60's..and baskets and baskets of durians would be taken up the wharf to be sold along the temporary sheds built just for the year end fruit season...and some folks made a large fortune out of that. And nights in Sibu would be really different for a season.
Today many Chinese farmers in Kapit are still bringing their best durians to their favourite politicians in Kuching. Some will certainly keep some for their own children and relatives. If you have some such friends it is always a good reason to cultivate some durian based friendship. A very good durian tree can bear up to 600 good fruits.
Back again to the 1950's and 1960's Sibu, people gathered by the wharf side to buy and sell durians, to talk about durians and enjoy the smell and taste of this wonderful fruit...and some friendships were made too. And some do become sworn enemies caused by some dishonorable sales!!
The friendliness of the durian sellers and some middle men was as temporary as the Landas rain...and soon, like the wet season, the wharf area became a monocultural activity centre of people with hardworking faces eeking out their living...the excitement of the durian season is gone. It would be...may be next season I would see your face again..and renew a friendship...or may be not ....such is life because the motor launch might not bring such good baskets of durians any more!! or where memories serve...one had bought a bad basket of durians and one would wish to punch a face or two!!
|Excellent Isu from the farm of a friend - many people like the isu for its special texture. Some people never like it.|
|The Nyekak is a special durian whch is favoured by the older generation. It is an acquired taste. It is like the blue cheese of the durians.|
|The nyekak has small and short thorns and is very light to handle. Some are yellow skinned while others are green. The trees have low slinging branches.|
|These are the thorns of the ISU - long and thin and rathr sharp. Some Isu fruits are hard to open. So you need to wear gloves.|
|This must be the Prince of the Durian Royal Family - D168. People are willing to pay lots of money for the fine textured and pleasantly fragrant flesh...very succulent and huge ..if you can eat only a few durians...two of these would just be a whole lunch for you....The durian season this year in Sarawak is a bumper season..There will be a second wind of it soon. But with global warming even the durians are suffering. One finds it even more difficult to CHOOSE a good durian. You need a lucky gambler's luck to buy the best...and to your taste. You have been cautioned. Or you will have to form your own formula to find the best for yourself. Hence the wonder of buying durians..and parting with your well earned money....|