Durian pau a big hit in Ipoh

IPOH, Malaysia - The popular King of Fruit is steaming hot these days, literally.

Durian pau (steamed buns) are flying off from huge bamboo steamers at Yei Lock Ipoh Restaurant here as customers flocked to buy them.

"The response from people has been fantastic. Many have said they like it very much. Several of my regular customers who like to eat durian came back several times to buy the buns," restaurant owner Choong Yoke Luen said in an interview.

The distinctive whiff of durian hits the nose when the steamed pau is halved.

These buns with durian paste filling are sold at RM1.60 (S$0.60) each.

Choong, 52, said hundreds of the buns would be made daily in the morning and they would be sold out by about 9am.

She said she started making and selling the durian pau about two years ago.

"My brother would always hand me a batch of kampung durians from his orchard in Parit during the durian season.

"It just struck me to try combining cooked durian paste and our Hainanese pau together so I experimented on it," she said.

"I had not imagined that it would be so well received by my customers," she added.

As the fruit was seasonal, Choong said she would only make and sell the buns whenever a good batch of kampung durians was available.

"They will only be sold when the fruits are available.

"I prefer to use kampung durian because of its natural taste, unlike the D24 or the Siamese durians, which are considered hybrids," she said.

Choong has been selling steamed buns since 1992.

"The dry season this time around has been a blessing as the durians are sweeter," she said.