Sweet Durians are more popular with Malays and Indians, while the Chinese prefer bitter varieties of the thorny fruit; did you know?
Durian has become like wine over the years – there are connoisseurs who know it very well, each type has a long-standing history, and every durian farmer has a unique story to go with their durians. 99 Old Trees is the epitome of the durian heritage and a trusted retailer of the King of Fruits.
I’ll start by saying that I am not the biggest durian fan there is. Now, now. Before you start hurling durian seeds at me, allow me to explain. Durians are known for being very rich and heaty for the body. I have a super sensitive heating/cooling body system. When I was younger and admittedly less hydrated, I couldn’t eat more than two seeds of durian without getting a sore throat. As an older (and hopefully wiser) individual, I surprised myself at 99 Old Trees. While seated at their one of a kind ‘durian bar’ I actually pushed down more durian than I have in a loooong time. And obviously, I’ve lived to tell the tale.
Durians and Omakase
Omakase tasting is a Japanese style tasting session, typically featuring a range of dishes that are curated by the chef. The chef guides you through the various courses, allowing for palate cleansers between courses. My interest was understandably piqued when I heard that 99 Old Trees did something similar with durians. I mean, durians and Omakase? Before I delve deeper into the thorn pit, here’s why I think you should keep reading: the D24 and Mao Shang Wang varieties are unlimited during these tasting sessions – you can have your plate refilled as many times as you like. See. Now you want to know more!
The tasting sessions, called Sukawa Sessions, see the seasonal fruit served lovingly by the aficionados at 99 Old Trees to a line up of waiting durian enthusiasts. Currently, the tasting is priced at 60 per session. Reservations need to be made at least 3 days in advance. Sukawa is only available during Durian season, from 6 June to 31 August (this time frame is an estimation).
A World of Durians
I found the USP of 99 Old Trees to be their knowledgeable Durian stewards. We were served by the very charming and chatty Kelvin, the Durian Chief of the brand. He knew the durians inside out; I would gladly go back to him for more advice on what is the best durian to have and from where, based on the type of Durian taste I like. He helps to debunk Durian myths and leaves you with a feeling that the deep-rooted history of Durian is as valuable as saffron, or gold. Heck, Durian is so precious in Singapore it might as well be gold.
When Durians aren’t in season, 99 Old Trees gets creative with the fruit by selling durian desserts. Durians, like other fruits, need a little help to taste good when they aren’t in season. So an actual durian might taste flat, but a Durian mousse will be everything.
Thanks Sixth Sense PR for the ground work on this!
D101: Buttery and mildly sweet, may contain touches of sour notes. Commonly found in Johor.
D24 Sultan: A good balance of sweet and bitter, with a smooth, creamy and silky flesh. A common variety from Pahang, the D24 can be sold as Musang King or Mao Shan Wang to people who aren’t familiar with Durians.
D1: A simply flavoured Durian that’s mild and sweet. Perfect for those looking to ‘try’ durian for the first time.
Mao Shan Wang: Super popular, with a thick and custard like flesh. It’s creamy yet bitter, though some have said it to be distinctly sweet the way only durian can be. This variety helms from Pahang and is commonly found in the Durian market during season.
Black Pearl: This variety has small, pearl-like seeds and a milky texture. In short, it’s a bubble tea! Joking, this one’s bitter and doesn’t have a bucketful of sugar. Although rare, this variety can be found across the pond in johor.
Red Prawn: Known for its flame-hued flesh, the Red Prawn can be very sweet with a slightly bitter after taste. You can tell it apart by its flamboyant orange flesh. This variety is mostly found in Penang.
Shop name 99 Old Trees
Name of event SukaWa
Availability Estimated from 6 June 2019 to 31 August 2019, and during durian season only
3 days advance reservation required
Prices Adult: $48 (Introductory price from 3 to 20 June) | $60 (Regular price)
Address Block 46 Owen Road #01-277 Singapore 210046
Reservations Phone: +65 9822 2495
Opening hours Daily: 11.30am to 9pm; 11.30am to 11pm during durian season
Payment modes Cash, NETS, Visa, Mastercard, AMEX
Seating capacity | Floor area 24 | 700 square feet
Parking Public parking available at Block 46 Owen Road