Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Durian Sold for 1.5 Million Baht

A durian of the Kanyao variety from Thailand awaiting harvest. Image credit: The Nation/Asia News Network

A wealthy local businessperson paid a whopping 1.5 million baht ($48,000; RM199,289) for a single Kanyao durian when it was auctioned at the King of Durian 2019 festival in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on June 01, 2019. 

Officials had handpicked the durian just a day before from a nearby farm where prices start at 20,000 baht for just one fruit. [Note: Whole durians usually sell in Thailand for around 500 baht – or even more expensive in the west – depending on their weight]. 

The very pricey durian (left) – chosen for its perfect size, shape, and ripeness – smashed the previous year’s record of 800,000 baht. In 2017, the highest bid was 310,000 baht.

The glamorous event held to promote excellence in durian farming saw nine of the fruits placed daintily on red-and-gold velvet pillows being paraded by models.

They were the Monthong, Kanyao, and Kop Med Tao species with each one fetching more than 300,000 baht.

Owner Maliwan Han Chai Thai, who runs the Pa Toi Lung Mu farm where the record-breaking durian was grown, said: ''I knew this was a very special durian but I was amazed at how much it sold for. I was expecting one million baht, so for it to sell more is very good. I hope the high bidder enjoys eating the durian. This variety is the tastiest in the world and we will keep growing them", he told Newsflare

The total proceeds of 4.5 million baht from the sale of the durians will be passed back to the farmers with a portion also being donated to local charities for buying medical equipment for hospitals. 

A massive flood in 2011 wiped out 90 percent of the Kanyao durian and Maliwan's farm was one of the very few that emerged relatively unscathed. 

This particular durian (left) is specific to the Nonthaburi region, some 20km north of Bangkok and it is "claimed" to be the best in the world thanks to its sweet taste and creamy texture. 

Actually, durians from Nonthaburi have been famous for more than 400 years. It’s the place all commercial durian varieties – Monthong, Chanee, and Kanyao – originated. I guess there’s something whimsical about Nonthaburi, like it’s some mythical durian Eden. 

The durian orchards here are crisscrossed by canals. And the nearby Chao Phraya River, which is tidal ensures that every day the canals are flooded with a mixture of fresh water and sea water, said to impart minerals and give a slightly salty flavor to the durians. 

The fruits are really pampered to the extreme. They are covered in plastic bags and wire to keep out squirrels and rain, perfumed with mothballs to scare away insects, fed with homemade fertilizer concocted of fish parts, molasses, and yeast, and even covered with prettily painted umbrellas to protect them from the intense tropical sun. And it is said they’ve never been touched by any kind of chemical. 

The Kanyao durian (Long stem, ทุเรียนก้านยาว) is said to be a firm favorite in Thailand. 

Although these durians are becoming increasingly available in Bangkok markets – supposedly, the best ones are already reserved months in advance, when the durians are merely petite green potential. 

I really must try the Kanyao durian when I'm next headed to Thailand.

No comments: