The Story Of Lin Feng Jiao Durian That Adopted A Celebrity Name
There’s something about learning more about the history of a durian you like which captures the imagination.
This is the same for all types of products.
For example if someone loves the L’Apparita Merlot from Castello di Ama, it makes perfect sense that he would find the interesting history of the wine fascinating.
And if you are a diehard fan of iPhones, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find yourself looking back at videos of Steve Job’s keynote speech when he presented the very first iPhone.
Because of the funky names that come with various cultivars of durians, the origin stories that accompany them can seem doubly interesting.
Another one of which has somehow adopted the witty name lin feng jiao (林凤娇) who is Jackie Chan’s wife.
A lot of durian sellers jovially tell the origin story behind the eventual naming of the durian like this. Because this durian is famed for it’s bitter taste, the name reflects lin feng jiao’s (the celebrity) feeling of bitterness that she has been overshadowed by her more famous husband, even though she is an award winning actress in her own right. The assumption is that she looks so happy and cheerful on the outside but bitter on the inside. Just like this durian.
But talking to many veteran durian sellers, I have learned about an alternative story behind it that I find is more credible.
The story is that the durian lin feng jiao (LFJ) was actually from a tall mother tree which grew out of a chanee seed like green skin. The farmer’s wife loved it so much that he named it after his loving wife lee feng jiao (李凤娇). Because the period when this durian became popular coincided with the period when the celebrity was the talk of the town in the 1970s, people started to call the durian lin feng jiao instead of lee feng jiao.
This story line might make it into a movie one day. And of course productions of this magnitude needs to call on an A-list of stars such as Brad Pitt as the farmer and Angelina Jolie as the wife.
The eventual name of lin feng jiao is more of a morphing of the original name over time similar to capri. The name can after all capture attention and arouse curiosity from the masses which is good for business.
But whichever story is closer to the truth does not deny that LFJ is one durian to be reckoned with.
Features of lin feng jiao durian
This is a generally large sized elongated durian with an average weight of over 2kg.
The colour of the husk is a yellowish-green.
Smaller thorns curl upwards toward the stem at the rim area, and the bottom is often flat enough to stand the fruit upright on it’s own.
On closer inspection, you’d find that each section of chamber causes an ever-slightly protruding shape on the husk itself.
It’s soft underbelly is at the bottom of the husk like D11. Leading to the bottom seams often creaking open from the impact of dropping off the tree.
So like D11, don’t write it off just because you see sellers tying rubber bands around it’s bottom to keep it shut. It’s just one of the characteristics of LFJ.
However unlike D11, LFJ does not handle being off the tree very well as the fruitlets can get quite watery if you leave it at home for a whole day.
Upon opening the durian, you will see fruitlets that are a few shades off the typical yellow.
And because this is a cultivar that has been around for decades, the supply we see today are harvested from old trees. So the lobes of fruitlets would usually spot wrinkled skin.
This is also in part due to it’s watery texture being unable to firmly hold the skin in place when suffering from knocks during transport.
Other than being known for it’s infamous name, LFJ is also renown for it’s notorious taste.
As mentioned earlier, this is a bitter durian. Much more bitter than it is sweet.
It’s not that it has a heavy bitterness, but that it has a strong bitterness that accompanies the sticky texture. I don’t know if this makes sense to you. But if you are adept at tasting bitter durians, you’d know what I mean after trying lin feng jiao.
It is one durian that one would unequivocally classify under the bitter durians category like capri and thunder.
The flavour is indeed so strong that it can often cover up the taste of other food you eat after LFJ.
So much so that many durian sellers only serve it to patrons only after they have had their fill of other durians. Otherwise if consumers start with it, sellers might face complaints that their durians other than LFJ taste like mineral water. So if you have maybe horlor and LFJ on the table, do consume the former before the latter or else your horlor can be tasteless.
Lin feng jiao harvest season
The harvesting of lin feng jiao durians occurs typically between June to August.
While this seems like a pretty extended window of availability, LFJ can be exceptionally difficult to procure outside the main season due to low supply.
A big part of this is also because bitter lovers tend to be durianers who have been around the block. And they are typically more active in chasing durians they love than the average person.
So don’t be surprised to always seem to be a step behind others when seeking LFJ. Sometimes you might even find them available in a store but the seller simply would not sell them to you as regular customers have already booked them.
In addition, because of the fragility of LFJ, it does not often make it out of Penang. So your best bet is to be in Penang for this one.
Apart from that very real prospect of disappointment in finding this treasure, if you want this durian and see it in store, do grab it before the person beside you does so. I have done this to people before, and have also been done by. So do watch out 😀
Everybody wants an affiliation with a celebrity.