The Polarising Taste Of Zhu Chun Durian
The names of durians can vary widely with no clear pattern of how they adopted their local and commercial names at all.
However, there are some clear methodology behind some groups of durians in terms of how they are named.
For example, one of the most common ways that a durian name is conceptualized is by identifying a unique physical attribute of the fruit. Those that fall into this category include black thorn, green skin 15, hulu, etc.
There are many more noticeable methodologies used in the naming of durians.
But one of those methods that I revere the most are those that used the old-fashioned way of naming a fruit after the owner of the orchard where the tree was grown and nurtured.
No. Lobster belongs to the physical attribute category. I’m just testing whether you are paying attention 😀
Anyway, another durian named after a plantation owner is Zhu Chun (朱春).
For those who don’t really care about the back story behind durians, the name zhu chun would probably be assumed to mean vermilion spring. While this can sound like a strange name, it’s also not something out of the ordinary in the radical world of durian naming.
But zhu chun is actually a durian named after the owner of that plantation which housed the mother tree in the Pantai Acheh area of Balik Pulau in Penang.
I personally love to see durians named after their founders because it serves as a reminder of the legacy they left behind for contributing to the abundant durian arena that we are able to enjoy today.
The significance of their roles that led to what we have today should not be underestimated.
Zhu cun in it’s own right, is a durian fruit with a unique taste that deserves more recognition.
Features of zhu chun durian
This is a small to medium sized durian with the average size just above 1kg.
The overall shape of the husk is elongated oval with a tendency to be elliptical too.
The bottom of the husk is usually truncated allowing it the ability to stand upright on it’s own. While the top area where the rind meets the stem is convex and truncate as well.
It should be mentioned that the stem of this fruit is slightly longer than the average durian. Not in the ball park of ganja, but noticeable enough.
Hooked and curvy thorns are scattered all over the husk. Creating a look of strong wind blowing on a grassy meadow.
The husk is thick. But it’s not as hard a nut to crack like tekka as the fibre that holds the different lobes together are not as stubborn.
As you get that first look at the fruitlets inside, you can be in awe just like how you saw black gold musang king for the first time. Yes the flesh is golden yellow in the arena of mao shan wang, with many that a are shimmering gold as well.
The visual impact is really comparable to musang king. Leaving you licking your lips at the prospects of sucking on it like a pacifier.
The fruitlet colour can sometimes border on yellow-orange too. Which is why this durian is also sometimes referred to as zhu chun hong (朱春红) which adds the word red at the end.
The strength of flavour is not mild, but is not classified as strong either. The bitterness is subtle that can leave you thinking “Is that all?”.
The answer is no.
Zhu chun is more known for it’s unique flavour that is incomparable like centipede. Something that you need to taste to find out because words are incomprehensible.
Take note that I don’t mean that it taste like centipede. I mean that just like the unique taste of lipan, zhu chun has a unique taste that needs eating to find out.
This unique taste can be polarising. It’s one of those “you can either take it or you cannot” kind of things.
But the polarity is not a balanced 50/50 spread. It’s more like 80/20 with the larger number being people who can handle or appreciate the taste, and the other 20% being those who will not have another zhu chun for as long as there is time even if their life depended on it.
Some people who loathe the taste compare it to that of raw meat. While those who appreciate it are unable to find any hint of that metaphor in the durian.
On the contrary, they find it exuding a floral aroma in the sense of how little red exudes it’s own floral display. It’s like citrus flowers made up of cocoa. The very sticky texture makes the release of the flavour more intense than normal.
Well this extreme difference in the taste and smell perception of durians is not something new.
You won’t know where you stand until you try it out. You can always vomit it out if you find the taste sickening 😀
The seeds are regular sized. No jiu ji here.
Zhu chun durian harvest season
Zhu chun has an early harvest and it typically starts making it’s way into durian stall in late May or early June.
It’s rare to find this durian outside of Penang. But the paradox is that it’s not that difficult at all to see it in Penang.
So the rarity factor is somewhat amusingly geographically skewed.
I wonder how that works.