Ang Bak Kia Carries The Features Of Some Champion Durians
In many categories of products, some terms become so well known that they become part and parcel of the industry as a whole.
One good example are the words “pro max plus” frequently used in the world of smart mobile devices today. These words actually do make sense as they describe a material feature that is embodied by certain devices.
It’s hard to find a range of flagship smart phones these days without a variant that incorporates one of those words in the product name.
This marketing phenomena can also be exemplified in the world of durians.
One of the most commonly used word, or term, is the word king.
Just think of the countless times we see labels of butter king, bitter king, king of kings, lobang king, etc. And of course, musang king as well.
There’s just something about the word king that has followed the durian world for decades. And it communicates a certain element of prestige, class and high quality when the word is attached to a durian or a category of cultivars. Which is also why it’s been heavily exploited by marketers.
Another term that has been commonly used for years but with less fanfare as the word “king” is ang bak.
Ang bak is the hokkien pronunciation of the term 红肉 which translates as red flesh. This term is often intuitively used to describe durians with fruitlets that spot the colour orange and orange-yellow. It can also find it’s way to descriptive phrases as well.
Another special durian that has adopted part of this phrase for it’s name is Ang Bak Kia, which translates to red flesh kid.
For durian connoisseurs, the mere mention of this name might instinctively bring up the thought that this durian originate from a seedling of khun poh. This is because the official name of khun poh recorded with MARDI is Ang Bak. And since the fruitlets of ang bak kia can resemble that of khun poh’s, it’s only natural to think from that angle of approach.
But ang bak kia is actually a totally different and supposedly unrelated durian to khun poh. There has never been any evidence or claims to their relation despite looking so similar to little red which is a verified descendant of khun poh. Both of which are champion durians by the way.
As you might have suspected from the above storytelling, the origins of ang bak kia is very foggy. I also won’t write-off the possibility that it did indeed grew from a khun poh sapling but the planter refused to admit it.
It is also known in some circles as Penang M5.
Features of ang bak kia durian
This is a typically small to medium sized fruit that seldom hits 2kg, let alone exceed it.
The shape of the husk is rather interesting.
This is because it can look rounded like a football from one side, and oval like a rugby ball on another side. The reason for this is that this durian often has an empty depressed lobe that alters the overall shape.
This missing lobe is so common with ang bak kia that most durian veterans have accepted it as part of it’s distinctive feature.
Let’s repeat this explanation.
Should it be fully lobed, the shape would be round. But because it frequently has missing segments on the fruit, the shape can appear oval when viewed from a different angle.
The thorns are rather uniform and evenly spread like little red, except the section of missing segment where the spikes converge to look like part of khun poh.
However, the husk colour is of a duller shade compared to little red.
To add a little more drama into the mix, ang bak kia from very old trees can often spot a more elongated oblong and oval shape. The husk can also be much thicker.
You should be able to tell by now that this is one unpredictable moody durian. A spiky paradox.
As you open up this durian, you might feel excitement from seeing the bright red-orangy flesh if you have never seen khun poh or little red before.
In fact, it can look like it’s trying very hard to look exactly like little red.
The taste is sweet, and generally with no bitterness. Which is why it is a popular favorite among children.
But because this is a moody durian as stated previously, it can sometimes come with bitterness as well.
And like khun poh and xiao hong, ang bak kia also comes with a distinguishable floral taste. It can remind you of rose petals.
The flesh texture is soft, but not as soft as khun poh. And as you get your way towards the seed, you’d find a tougher layer of unripe flesh that protects the seed like a cocoon.
At it’s best, ang bak kia can be as delightful as little red.
But the biggest drawback of this durian is consistency. Or should we say inconsistency. Different fruitlets from the same fruit can sometimes taste remarkably different. Let alone talking about different ang bak kias.
The best advice I can give is that if you don’t see signs of the durian having hit the ground, do knock it a few times on each lobe and leave it for a couple of hours before consuming. This is to trigger the enzymes to release the flavour locked in the flesh.
Ang bak kia harvest season
Ang bak kia usually enters the market in the early part of the mid-season.
You might have to closely monitor the harvesting schedule of farms that carry this cultivar so that you can get a headstart to grab one of them before others.
But the supply is rather limited because of it’s unpredictability. Making it commercially unviable for mass production.
Especially when there is xiao hong as an alternative which is a more branded name and almost similar taste. And if you can find ang bak kia, it is usually priced below that of xiao hong. Making it possibly a better value for money order.