DURIANS on Borneo come in many forms and sizes, but to our surprise the latest edition of thesundaypost (Feb 26) has an article featuring an unheard of variety of this king of fruits known as the golden pumpkin durian or in Mandarin, the ‘qing kua’ durian.
A group of 10 visitors had the opportunity to see and taste it when they recently visited an orchard along the Miri-Bintulu trunk road in Sarawak.
Although it was already the tail-end of the durian season, the caretaker, Liew Min Jaw, managed to pick up a large fruit which fell among the undergrowth overnight, the article in the Sunday edition of the Borneo Post says.
“It’s not easy to find a durian this size at this time of the year but I have seen even bigger ones like the 8kg fruit I once found. Unfortunately, it was over-ripe and spoiled,” Liew (right) recalled.
The orchard actually belongs to a local hotel tycoon, he and his family help look after it.
On the spur of the moment in the late afternoon of Feb 4, writers from thesundaypost and its Chinese sister paper the See Hua Daily News decided to call at the orchard with the main purpose of sampling this “special” durians.
The journalists brought along some relatives and friends, including See Hua’s branch manager for marketing from Miri, Wong Kee Mee, who had his six-year-old son tagging along.
The young lad wanted to see a real fruit orchard for the first time.
According to these visitors, the qing kua durian has a typical durian aroma and thick, golden yellow pulp which is quite tasty but with a hint of bitterness considered by durian lovers as a sign of quality.
“This special variety has a generous quantity of pulp, and people have asked me about it but unfortunately, it’s not among tastiest,” said Liew who has been tending the orchard with his family since moving to Miri from Kuching many years ago.
The orchard has many other fruit such as rambutans, star fruit, dragon fruit, oranges and limes although durians have the highest demand.
Liew also showed the visitors a smaller durian – a Thai hybrid – for comparison and sampling. This specie has a tastier pulp, also yellow in colour and with a generous quantity of flesh and smaller seeds.
Other fruit they sampled included the brown, sweet and juicy duku, and the pulasan, a dark red rambutan-like fruit but with very short, thick and stubby hairs.
They say the pulp of the pulasan is quite sweet, and peels off the single seed easily, pointing out that the seed is edible and crunchy without the bitter taste of the rambutan seed.
Another fruit the group sampled was mangosteen which is sweet and considered a good match as a cooling partner for the ‘heaty’ durian.
The last fruit was the chempedak.
“This is a Perak champion chempedak (CH28) which is very sweet,” Liew said.
The chempedak has sweet and smooth pulps with small round seeds. However, Bruneians are said to prefer the seedless variety.
Liew and his family are not permitted to sell the fruits to visitors without the owner’s permission, but are allowed to let them sample it.