Yet another list specifying more than 150 dishes in tiny print, all on a piece of 8 X 11 glossy paper! This time it is the menu of the newly opened “SweetHoney Dessert”, hailing from Hong Kong. The menu section entitled “Glutinous Rice Balls” lists 12 sweet courses, including Sweet Potato Soup with Glutinous Rice Balls, Sweet Ginger Soup with Glutinous Rice Balls, and Sesame Soup with Glutinous Rice Balls. If the verbatim specification of “Glutinous Rice Balls” for each item could be eliminated, the page would look less confusing and cramped. Can everyone guess the most expensive dish? It is a bowl of Stewed Swallow Nest with Fresh Milk at reasonably priced $15.45.

The fruit durian, whose appearance resembles porcupinefish, holds a special place in the heart of SweetHoney Dessert’s team who devotes an entire menu section, “Durian Special,” to this exotic produce. I ordered Durian Mochi, Durian Pancake, and Durian Pudding during my visit; all were delicately prepared and yummy. However, 10 minutes into the tasting session I was re-studying the menu, hoping to order some hot tea to complement durian’s outlandish flavor and creamy texture.

At my previous workplace more than fifteen years ago I savored durian for the very first time. A Vietnamese colleague considered those of us who had never tasted durian deprived of life’s pleasures and brought one to the office. The tasting was held inside a conference room to contain durian’s peculiar aroma: in other words, it smells. This past September, in the Philippines, I had fresh durian again. Mangosteen deserves to be the “queen of fruits.” How could durian be the king, as considered by many in Southeast Asia? It does not have any of a typical fruit’s common traits.

SweetHoney Dessert does not offer one single tea. I am still pondering which teas to pair with durian desserts…