The Bull's Eye

Durian makes way into desserts

Amelie Lee, Asst. Feature Editor

Serving traditional drinks and desserts, Malaysian cafe Puan Sri takes what has been nicknamed the “smelliest fruit in the world” and creates palatable and tasty snacks for those curious to try a new flavor.

Making its home among the hundreds of boba shops and dessert cafes in Rowland Heights, the cafe utilizes the Malaysian fruit durian in its array of cakes and drinks.

Known for its strong gasoline-like scent, durian is popular in many areas of Asia and is native to Malaysia and Indonesia. Despite its off-putting smell, the fruit has a sweet flavor and creamy texture, often compared to caramel or banana.

Named after a Malaysian title of authority, Puan Sri incorporates the exotic flavor of the fruit in their dishes, serving durian flavored cakes, puddings, coffees and milkshakes.

Upon entering the restaurant, I immediately noticed the yellow color scheme. Since the cafe was relatively empty, I was quickly approached by waiters who began describing the different desserts and drinks the store offered in great detail.

The interior was an explosion of the creamy yellow color associated with durians. Decorated with yellow wallpaper, long hanging lights and yellow and blue couches, the cafe and its use of bright colors matched the sunny personalities of their engaging waiters.

A glass display case showed off the desserts offerings, from durian raindrop cakes, small clear cakes made with gelatin, to lattes and souffles. I ordered the classic durian dessert for $7.50, the durian sawdust cup for $5.45 and durian milkshake for $4.95.

For those who have never tried the durian fruit, the flavor is often too intense to be enjoyed at first, but since my mother grew up in Malaysia, I have learned to enjoy the fruit’s distinctive scent and flavor.

Despite this, while the durian cake’s creaminess was delicious, the durian flavor was a bit overpowering. After a while, I became used to the intense flavor of the fruit, and I was able to appreciate the creamy and crepe-cake like texture of the cake.

At almost $8, a single slice of cake was on the more expensive side, but worth the brand new experience of trying the fruit in a cake.

Similarly, while the smoothness and sweetness of the blended durian milkshake was refreshing, the strong durian flavor kept me from taking more than little sips at a time.

However, after getting used to the scent, I found the drink to be more enjoyable and easier to gulp down. For $5, the drink was a reasonable size and was well worth the price.

Layered with durian cream, whipped cream and crushed crackers, the sawdust cup was a much more balanced dessert. The whipped cream and crackers gave the dessert additional textures that balanced out and lightened the strong flavor of the durian that was present in the other desserts. While a bit pricey for a small cup, the sweet and crunchy sawdust cup was my favorite out of the different durian desserts.

With its cheerful yellow atmosphere and unique use of the durian fruit, Puan Sri brings an exceptional Malaysian specialty to Rowland Heights, allowing for the more adventurous risk takers to try a new exotic flavor in their desserts.

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