EXPENSIVE BUT ROTTEN APPLES

I bought some Japanese apples (produce of Aomori Prefecture) from Fairprice Finest in Marine Parade recently.  I remember reading somewhere that Aomori is the largest apple-producing prefecture in Japan and it is said to produce apples of high quality.

However, I was disappointed with what I got.

Jonagold Apples at S$7.90 per pair – one out of two was rotten

Ourin Apples at S$8.90 for 3 – two out of three were rotten

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In fact, this was not the first time.  A couple of months ago, I bought some for a friend, and they were rotten too.  What an embarrassment, wasn’t it?

Of course, I had to go back to Fairprice for a refund.

Such poor quality apples were totally unexpected since they are not cheap, and are sold by a premium supermarket.  I wonder where the problem started from?  The supplier or Fairprice?  Is there no quality check by the supplier before packing and distributing them and then subsequently by Fairprice before selling them?  When the Fairprice staff replenish the stocks every morning, do they not do any inspection?

These are what I have spotted in Fairprice Finest as well.

Organic carrots that were already rotten

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Vegetables that had already turned yellow

Looks like Fairprice Finest is not that fine after all!

‘TIS THE SEASON OF DURIANS

It’s the time of the year again.  Durians are everywhere!

It has been reported that durian harvests in Malaysia have been good this year due to quite ideal weather conditions (with rainy and sunny days) and durian aficionados have reason to rejoice as durian vendors here are seeing a drop in prices.  Surely this is one good news for durian lovers, hubby and I included.   However, are durians really cheaper this year?  Well, this is probably true but  I remember paying for pretty good Mao Shan Wang (Cat Mountain King) at a low S$12 per kg at Leong Tee, in April last year.  I have been paying S$16 per kg lately.  Mao Shan Wang is said to be the favourite of Singaporeans.

I love durians since I was a kid.  In fact, I have not come across anyone in my family or extended family that did not eat durians.  Then, we had never heard of any species name for the durians like what we have today. We just enjoyed whatever we had, mostly gifted by my dad’s friends or bought by one of my uncles, as I remember.  I only learned about the various species of durians much later when hubby and I began to buy them.  I also remember my mum used to make use of the less ripened durians to cook into a nice dessert – green bean durian soup. 🙂

I like durians which have thick and creamy flesh, and bitter in taste and my favourite is D24.

For this season, I have already had four rounds of durians so far, started with what I would describe as a “starter session” in Malaysia when I was there on a day-trip late last month.  There was no names for these durians that I bought at a fruit stall but this is not surprising since most of the “branded” and good ones are exported to Singapore!

3 durians for the price of RM39 (about S$14).  Very good deal.

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The flesh was pale in colour, solid and creamy with a tinge of bitterness.  So, I was really happy with them.  In fact, I had 2 durians for breakfast that day! 🙂

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So hubby and I kicked off our durian feasts last week, first with a visit to Leong Tee Durian at Tanjong Katong Road on Monday afternoon.    The timing was good as there were not many customers during the day. We could slowly savour the durians in the shop and even chatted with the boss.  We ordered one each of Jin Feng (Golden Phoenix), Tai Yuan (aka creamy Black Pearl) and Mao Shan Wang (Cat Mountain King) for the price of S$50.  We had been to Leong Tee a few times last year, and never once left feeling disappointed or dissatisfied.

Then on Friday, hubby and I decided to head down to this famous durian stall, Combat Durian, at Balestier Road which we had been once in 2009.  The experience at Combat that day was rather different from that 6 years ago.  There was a long queue when we arrived there in early afternoon.  That speaks of the popularity of this stall and obviously business must have gotten so much better over the years.  Given the hot sunny weather and the anticipated long wait, we decided to walk to a nearby food centre for some light food first, and hopefully the queue would be shorter by the time we got back.  Alas, durians were all sold out when we returned to the stall at about 3:50pm and we were told that the new stock was only expected to arrive in about half an hour.  Though a little disappointed, we decided to wait or it would be a wasted trip for us to go all the way to Balestier.

Queue at Combat Durian at about 4:30pm, 26 June

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The boss (in white shirt) busy serving the customers

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A change of price for Mao Shan Wang from S$16 to S$18 per kg, while we we queuing.  Reason?  Supplier has upped the price!

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The workers were all very busy and in fact, things seemed a little less organised at the stall.  Tables were all occupied.  The worker who attended to us was perspiring profusely and I was so worried that his sweat would drip into the durians we ordered when he was opening them!  I had to remind him to be watchful of that.  Phew…. Then our durians were left on a table which was not very clean.  The worker moved on quickly to attend to another customer, without even caring that there was actually no chair for us to sit.  So, service wise, it was a far cry from what we had experienced 6 years ago.  It was obvious that they were really busy but in my opinion, that should not be the excuse in compromising their service standard.

Quite stuffy here!

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We ordered a D24 and a Hong Xia (Red Prawn) that costs us S$29 in total.  The D24 was good but the Red Prawn, a little bit too wet for my liking

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Spotted at Combat Durian, seedless Japanese mangosteens and seedless lychee from China.

Japanese mangosteens?  Aren’t mangosteens a type of tropical fruit?  S$10 per packet.

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These seedless lychee costs S$70 per box.  Too expensive to try them!

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Our durian feast continues this week with yet another visit to Leong Tee Durian two days ago.  We really ate till we dropped! 😀 😀

Leong Tee @ 264, Tanjong Katong Road

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This is definitely a lot more comfortable for eat-in customers though not air-conditioned. 

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Lots of photos of eat-in customers on both sides of the wall

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This is a vacuum-packed equipment for customers who pack the durians for bringing overseas.  They have quite many overseas customers, as I understand.

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The boss (uncle Leong) with the first two durians that we ordered – Jin Feng and Mao Shan Wang.

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Can you tell which is which?  Jin Feng (left) is pale in colour and Mao Shan Wang (right) has yellowish flesh.

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Seeds of Jin Feng – really small

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Seeds of Mao Shan Wang – a little flattened but bigger in size

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We had a XO durian too!  Softer flesh, bitter with a bit of liquor smell.

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Seeds of XO durian

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We were really satisfied.  We had over-eaten that afternoon but that was not all.  We decided to pack some home too!  Two Mao Shan Wang that costs us about S$70.

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Uncle Leong’s worker packing the durians for us

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Nicely packed and now kept in our freezer.  These shall be our treat this weekend!

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Surely these are not all that we are going to have. 😀 When my uncle rang me from Ipoh (Malaysia) last night, he told me that he is going to get us some Mao Shan Wang when we spend the Hari Raya holiday there in the middle of this month.  What a delight!  Surely we are looking forward to the treat! 🙂

DELICIOUS KYOHO GRAPES

The Kyoho grapes (巨峰葡萄) from Japan always look tempting whenever I am at the Isetan supermarket. Yesterday, DS and I finally decided to give them a try.

These grapes are sweet. They are extremely juicy, have a very soft texture and also have a special flavour, something like mildly fermented juice.

Our verdict, Kyoho grapes are definitely worth a try although a little pricey. A small bunch (as seen on the photo above) costs S$19.00. You should try them to check it out yourself. I think it will be great if they are made into bottled juice!

PITAYAS (DRAGON FRUITS)

In my last Chinese entry on Batu Pahat, I wrote that DS and I were given a bag of organic dragon fruits which my mother-in-law specially ordered from a farm in Batu Pahat. They were really great – very delicious and juicy! 🙂

We seldom eat dragon fruits, not that we do not like them but it seems not easy to get real good ones from within our neighbhourhood. The first and the only time DS had ever bought dragon fruits were the red pitayas – red skinned fruit with white flesh that are the most commonly available dragon fruits. We didn’t like them at all. Since then, we have not eaten dragon fruits again until last December when a very dear friend of mine brought us some from Malaysia when she visited us. Those were the red skinned fruits with red flesh. They are called Costa Rica Pitayas, according to information from Wikipedia. The fruits were so delicious that until now, we never fail to remember this very dear friend of mine whenever we eat dragon fruits!

If you would cut the dragon fruit skins which are uneven and a little thick, you will find it rather difficult. However, recently DS discovered that the skin could be peeled off instead of cutting. This makes it very easy to remove the skin! 🙂