Friday, June 13, 2008

buying durians from roadside
stalls in m'sia

some of the best durians we have eaten were gotten from roadside stalls in west malaysia. i remember having tasted very good durians, in the early days, in melaka and on the way to ipoh, when we bought them from roadside stalls.

the durians were usually the kampong variety. the fruit was usually of average size, not the huge ones like those thai durians. we would buy either by the number of fruit or by weight, then it was in kati. i remember, quite often, we would have to help the vendors to total up the price. even when they started using the calculator, they still needed our help to work out the price.

for these roadside sellers, selling durians was more to have some side or extra income. they did not have mountains of fruit to sell, just a handful of them. they either grew their own fruit or collected them.

then after hearing and reading about singaporeans being ripped off by roadside durian sellers, usually chinese ones, we became very wary when it came to buying durians from roadside stalls. we would park our cars some distance from the stalls and avoid speaking in english in the presence of the durian sellers.

we heard of how some of these unscrupulous fly-by-night durian sellers would quote very attractive rates for their durians but when it came to weighing the fruit, they would cheat by putting some pressure on the scale so that the durians would weigh much more than their actual weight. or some would swop the durians that you have picked with 'rejects' when they packed them into the brown paper bags for you.

these days, most of the roadside durian sellers are full-time fruit sellers. they either set up a stall by the roadside or ply their ware at the back of their truck or inside a van. the one from which we bought our durians in melaka even had tables for customers to enjoy the fruit on the spot.

the durians were priced at between rm$12 and rm$15 a kilo. we bought five durians for rm$53 and 2 kg of mangosteens for rm$8. we finished the whole lot at the roadside stall.

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