Australia Diaries – Never Stop Exploring – Mt Ngungun/Strawberry Farm

Another day another hike. Not contended with Lamington National Park and on the suggestion of a friend staying in Brisbane, we went to the Glass House Mountain to climb Mt Ngungun. Mt Ngungun at just 253 m is one of the many weird looking mountain there.

The hike up to the summit is via a very well maintained track with some steps carved in. Good for trail running! It is an easy hike up among thick lush vegetation until the very top where it opened up to a small bald patch of uneven rock fall.

And this comes with stunning 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

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Durian Makan 2016

This year durian makan starts late. The poor crop at the beginning of the usual season in June led to our annual makan being postponed and postponed and then other commitments cropped up and before we know it, it is almost the end of the season.

So we gathered a few fellas and off we went. But instead of Ah Loon, this time I elected to try a new place that has just opened this year. This stall is in the heart of Siglap and Frankel located in a coffee shop. Not easy to find. And when we reached, there was no display of the usual durians. Instead there was just these 3 red baskets of durian which apparently was the one that were reserved for us! And that was the sum total of the stall. So what drove us here? The selling point that I heard about this place is they have a super duper Merah durian. M has tried this and spoke of how good it is. Unfortunately at the last minute, the boss messaged and said no Merah. The quality was no good and he rejected the lot. Sad!

So anyway, since we were there we might as well just enjoy whatever available. We started off with the  XO. dsc_1710

Sadly they were too wet and too “bitter”. A very very big disappointment.



Next up was something new for us. Tekka or Bamboo durian.dsc_1707

This is supposed to be a rather rare durian so I guess we were lucky to try it. The durian flesh is quite thick and rather creamy. Not everyone at the table like it though.



This was followed by 2 “Tai Wan” durian.  I am not exactly sure what is the real name of this durian. The durian were rather longish in size.dsc_1708

But what a disappointment. Both durian were not quite ripe with the flesh too hard with one almost not edible.  We complained to the Boss and he did not charge us for it which was a consolation.

Tai Wan

Tai Wan

Last but not least, we finished off with the usual Mao Shan Wang. The boss claimed his durian are from Segamat and not KL or other part of Malaysia and they were supposed to be good. dsc_1717

And yes they were good which was a relief. The 6 of us had 3 XO, 2 Tai Wan, 1 Tekka and 5 MSW. Certainly that was not enough. And since they had no more durian other than what was reserved for us, we went to good old Ah Loon where we “tabao” more durian.

Durian season should come to an end by the end of this month so  hopefully I can squeeze in one more session soon!

Durian Frenzy

Around this time of the year, I usually gather a few buddies and we will go to our favourite durian seller at East Coast Rd for durian buffet. This year, the first of the durian feast was on a Monday.

This was the scene that greeted us when we reached there. 02-DSC_0340In all my years of eating durian at Ah Loon, I have never seen it so crowded. In fact, he was already running out of Mao Shan Wang when we reached around 7.30. Luckily, we had made reservation and so we still got our fix.  It was the same scene at my other regular haunt at Pasir Ris. Just last night I reached at about 8 pm only to be told no more stock! Apparently the durian frenzy is going wild all over Singapore, due to the cheaper price and the hotter weather and all thanks to our neighbour, Malaysia.

Back to Ah Loon at East Coast, as they were selling the MSW at $15 per kg, we decided to forgo the cheaper durian buffet and just whacked the MSW.  There were 15 of us and together we had almost 35 kg or about 20 MSW.03-DSC_0351Truly this year crop of durian seems to taste much better. More fleshy, more taste and more creamier.

After finishing our MSW, for the benefits of those who had never tasted the other variants, we had some Golden Phoenix. The Golden Phoenix was selling at $12.00 per kg and which in our opinion wasn’t as good value as the MSW.04-DSC_0353And last but not least, Ah Loon had some not so good quality Black Pearl which he had discarded and we managed to took it off him for a discount. Indeed there was a worm in one of them but otherwise it was just as good.05-DSC_0355With the RM dropping faster than durian can drop from trees, looks like these few weeks is going to be durian durian durian.

Cameron Highlands – More than a Land of Strawberry

Cameron Highlands. Everywhere we go, strawberries are everywhere. From the strawberry farms to the strawberries theme souvenirs for tourists.
Strawberries growing on pots in the farm. Year end is not really a good time to visit as it is too cold and most of the bigger strawberries would have been harvested.

Dried preserved strawberries for sale. Nice but too much salt and sugar added though.
Strawberry fondue

Of course, Cameron Highlands is also famous for its tea and the most famous is the Boh Tea plantations which dot the mountains making for a very postcard picture.

One of the must do when in Cameron Highlands is to trek through one of the numerous mountains. Weather is great most of the year so it makes for a great trek unlike hot humid Singapore. There are lot of trails to trek, lots of things to see like stick insects and exotic plant. We even spotted a lingzhi growing one of the trees. More on trekking here
Unfortunately like everywhere else, Cameron Highlands is fast succumbing to development both legal and illegal. Large tract of lands are being cleared for farming and hotel development. There is a perpetual traffic jam along the main road and the air is no longer as cool as it used to be.

Durian Durian Durian

Times flies and it is the durian season again and time for another round of durian gorging. After 2 unsuccessful attempt, I finally managed to round up enough people to qualify for the durian buffet at our usual durian haunt.

The unique thing about this durian feast is that for $25.00 each, we get to eat unlimited. None of those kampong durian or anything that goes for 2 or 3 for X dollars type of durian. Here we got get premium durian like

Black Pearl – indisputably the best with its slightly wet flesh and small seed
Mao Shang Wang- the king of all but too rich and big for us. This was left to the  last
Palai – a new breed that we have not tried enough. Creamy, soft and tasty. One of the best
D13 – very bitter 
XO – everybody complained it was too wet
Red Prawn – always my favourite. 

Pure durian bliss. But good things cannot eat too much especially heaty food like this. So contend myself with a little of each. The stall holder allowed us to tapao the balance even those not opened!

Definitely worth every single cent of the $25!