Tenom Beauty Is The Durian That Makes You See Red With Desire
Every now and then, a key characteristic of certain foods grabs your attention like no other.
I remember the WTF moments when I first saw blue bananas which immediately made me think that The Smurfs were real! There was also the time when I saw square watermelons which caused the imagery of alien fruits from another galaxy to pop into my head.
And then there was McDonald’s who entered the arena of KFC by selling fried chicken… but that’s another story for another day…
Nevertheless I was stunned all the same when I saw a durian that opened up to reveal red pulps of desire.
This is tenom beauty.
For starters, red durians are actually not so uncommon. It’s just that we are so accustomed to seeing durain flesh in yellow colour that beholding them in red creates a breath-catching moment.
And the tone of the striking colour is blood red as if to invoke the passion in you.
According to Mr Chiu, who is probably the most celebrated tenom beauty grower today, the origin of this sore thumb of a durian is wildly natural. Somehow the magic of nature created a hybrid of wild and mountain durians which gave birth to tenom beauty.
He had the foresight to collect grafting material from a mother tree in the jungles of Sabah in East Malaysia before it was removed and sent to the woodworkers due to urban clearing.
And with a typical air of humility, he has yet to proceed with registering the cultivar with MARDI even though the latter has repeatedly invited him to do so.
I don’t blame him because to be honest, this red durian probably don’t need added media attention as it has already become famous as it is.
Features of tenom beauty durian
The colour of the rind is yellow with a hint of light green.
So if you place an opened fruit on green grass, you should have the image reminiscent of a traffic light.
Yellow thorns line up in a rather uniform and strangely symmetrical manner around the rounded fruit in a pattern that resembles that of lobster. But the tip of the spikes are dark brown going towards black.
As you crank open the fruit, not only will you be mesmerized by the redness that shines before you, you might also notice that the inner husk is whiter than most other durians. Or maybe the searing red contrast with the white so much that the white gives the impression that it’s whiter than white.
It’s as if the tenom beauty is behaving like a peacock trying to impress you with it’s vivid seductive display.
As a word of warning, for those who faint at the sight of blood, you might find the sight of the fruitlets nauseating reminding you of gore images.
For durian lovers, it won’t be a surprise to find that your fingers naturally gravitating towards the fruitlets at an unconscious level. It’s just the durian software written into our brains at birth being triggered.
I really don’t think that any durian connoisseur would have the willpower to freeze their hands when they see tenam beauty at it’s absolute majesty.
But despite all the allure of biting into this exotic fruit, I have to bring down your expectations… but just a tad bit.
The taste is not going to pack a punch like how you felt when you had your first musang king. In fact, the taste is very subtle and maybe even neutral in a way.
It won’t arouse your senses like how it’s appearance has already done.
Some people compare the mild taste to that of monthong. I would compare it to a cultivar like big bun but much less sweet. Since big bun is not really known for it’s sweetness, you should get an idea of how subtle the taste is. At least there’s a chocolaty flavour to it.
The creamy texture is thick and sticky.
I would say that the taste of tenom beauty is not exceptional or unique. But durianing is not all about our taste buds. It’s also got a lot to do with the experience.
Munching down on this with your friends and loved ones will be an event that you guys will be talking about years later. Especially if tenom beauty remains as elusive as it is today outside of East Malaysia.
Tenon beauty durian harvest season
If you don’t already know, the harvesting season is different in East Malaysia compared to the West side.
So the peak harvest usually starts in January. With early drop offs possibly in December.
Even so, good luck procuring one of these treasures because you can bet that a lot of people will be scrambling to get their hands on it due to the novelty factor.
If you have been hunting tenom beauty for a while and have so far failed, maybe it’s about time that you realise that you might have to take a trip to Sabah to finally land one.