Durian god must be smiling down on me. That must be the reason why I live to taste Puang Manee พวงมณี, at its birthland in Chanthaburi Province, in the East of Thailand.
This type of Thai durian, has my seal of approval. Still not as ‘good’ as Malaysia’s durians, but it’s not too bad. It ticks most of the right boxes of Malaysia durians, or rather, Malaysians’ taste buds.
I always (jokingly) say, “Thai durian is NOT durian; it’s FAKE durian.”
You see, Thai people’s definition of a good durian, is on the other end of the spectrum. We need to understand that, and respect the differences.
Monthong หมอนทอง is probably the best selling durian variety in Thailand. There is only one word for me to describe it: bland. It doesn’t taste like durian at all! And Thai people like under ripe durian, possibly these fruits are being plucked off the tree before it’s time.
As for us Malaysians, durians are only ready to be eaten when they fall off the tree. The creamier, the better. If we were served anything similar to the Thai’s “thumbs up” durian, we would definitely reject the fruit.
Puang Manee พวงมณี was recommended to us in Chantaburi last weekend. Besides the usual suspects, aka the Monthong and Chanee ชะนี, we were shown the Puang Manee. We have not heard of this type before. It was described as sweet and creamy custard, and these are my favorite durian keywords! Hearing these descriptive words, bf of course chose Puang Manee (for me).
Price-wise, it was the most expensive at 250/300 baht per kilo, compared to Monthong and Chanee at 150 baht/kilo.
We paid 420 baht for one small Puang Manee durian. Only 7 pieces in one durian, this works out to 70 baht per piece! Puang Manee durian has big seed; lesser flesh, compared to other Thai durian types.
Bf specifically told the seller to choose a ripe one for me, so they started going around whacking the durians using a rubber tipped stick. They were looking for ‘hollow sound‘, which indicates that the durian flesh has softened enough to ‘recede’ from the durian shell.
The durian seller opened the durian, and immediately, bright yellow color durian flesh popped out. I am used to seeing pale yellow Thai durian flesh, so I knew right there and then that it is something special.
They then proceed to wrap the durian pieces individually with plastic wrappers. One durian, eight plastic wrappers!
What a genius! I ate the durian without even getting my hands dirty, and this means, no durian smell on my fingers!
I do not remember seeing Puang Manee in Bangkok before, but saw from blogs that it’s available at Or Tor Kor market (ตลาด อตก). I did a quick check at the market yesterday, and indeed, I can confirm its availability.
I only saw Monthong and Chanee at the main market area, but Puang Manee is available at the ‘side stalls’, outside the Royal Project Shop.
Puang Manee durian is definitely worth a try. If your (durian) taste buds are the same as mine, make sure that the durian seller choose a ripe one for you.