Pancakes comprise of such standard ingredients, that people have always experimented with different combinations of filling in order to create something more exciting. But I never dreamt that durian pancake would ever be invented.
During my recent visit to Hong Kong, I stopped off at the reputable Moon Kee Dessert house. With its highly affordable prices and laid back atmosphere, its fun and colourful range of desserts makes it Heaven for people with a sweet tooth (me). Among the variety of desserts they offer, their durian pancakes are one of the more peculiar options on the menu, attracting new customers and always bringing back the regulars.
Durian is not a fruit that everyone of you will encounter in your lifetime, yet if and when you do, it is a taste and smell that you will never possibly forget. Imagine Marmite but more intense; you don't just love it or hate it, you either lust and crave for it or you would leave a room to escape it.
Spiky and hard on the outside, creamy and soft on the inside, the fruit lets off an unbelievably pungent aroma the second it is cracked open. Describing the smell is almost impossible, it is similar to being hit in the face by the smell of fuel at a petrol station, along with a hint of sweetness and sourness. The taste of durian is just as difficult to describe. Nestled snug in their own pods, each individual bulb of flesh has its own stone and is both the colour and texture of slightly hardened custard. Each taste is powerful and overwhelming to the mouth, resembling the characteristics of a herb as opposed to a fruit.
So as I entered Moon Kee Dessert house, I thought that it was rather sensible to split the restaurant into two sections: if you were here for the durian, you will be seated on the right, if not then you follow the waitress to the left. No one is made to endure the smell and consequently, the guests are kept happy. Further to my amusement, "Durian District" signs are clearly displayed on the walls, to make it extra clear in case anyone ventures into the wrong side of the restaurant.
From the curious shape to the bright apple green shade, the durian pancake is intriguing from the moment it arrives at the table. For the durian virgins among you, the pretty frosted coating and poofy-roundness is certainly misleading as the flavour is not as innocent as the appearance. The durian pancake is made up of three layers: durian mash as filling, freshly whipped coconut cream moulded around it and wrapped up in a colourful pancake to entice you.
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The pancake shell is light and crisp, making it wonderfully delicious from the first bite. The fluffy coconut cream compliments the flavours of durian yet at the same time balances the strong taste, making it an even more enjoyable experience. Although the pancakes are packed with a considerable amount of cream, it is actually much lighter than I had ever expected it to be. A few minutes after finishing my first pair, I was already peering around like an excited meerkat for my second serving.
I have had plenty of desserts in my lifetime, and perhaps I am slightly biased by my apparent lust for durian, but these pancakes are one of the best sweets I have ever tasted and certainly the best as far as pancakes are concerned. Much to my delight, I have managed to find the recipe on the internet, and although I am unable to celebrate Pancake Day today with a portion of homemade durian pancakes (as durian is currently out of season), please watch this space towards the summer as I will be attempting these!
If you are yet to try these Kings of Fruits, Chinatown sells them when they're at their seasonal best. So whether you're brave enough to buy the whole fruit (£10-20), or just trying out a pre-packaged segment, you will definitely have an experience to tell.
|Moon Kee Dessert: Selection|