Monday, 1 February 2016

Red Prawn Durian (Ang Har) from Brown Estate

I wrote a bit about Brown Garden in Penang and described David Brown's estate, on this blog, entitled
David Brown 1778-1825.

These 2 comments came from Lindsay Gasik on 4 March 2015:

Thank you for this informative article about the Brown Estate. I am doing research on a durian variety called Red Prawn or Ang Har which is supposed to come from the Brown Estate. Do you know how I can learn more about the Brown Estate and its current status, as well as where exactly the durian may have come from? Thanks!
4 March 2015 at 16:34

Great informative article about the Brown Estate! I am doing research on a durian variety called Red Prawn which supposedly originated there. Do you know how I can find out more on the history of this durian? Thanks!
4 March 2015 at 16:35


A. External links on the Brown estate at Glugor in Penang:
Search results at NewspaperSG for Brown Estate Penang

Newspaper articles on the Brown estate:

The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 13 December 1923, Page 6
(From Our Correspondent).
Penang, Dec. 12th.
In the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Sproule is hearing the suit of Helen Margaret Brown against Lawrence Brown, D. A. M. Brown and John Robertson Brown, regarding Glugor Estate.

The Straits Times, 1 February 1924, Page 9
(From Our Own Correspondent).
Penang, January 31.
In the Supreme Court, Penang, Mr. Justice P. J. Sproule, has given judgment for the plaintiff in the case in which Miss Helen Margaret Brown, only daughter of the late Alexander Murray Brown, sued Lawrence Coombe Brown, David Alexander Murray Brown and John Robertson Brown claiming, (1) a declaration that under the will of the late Forbes Scott Brown and in the events that have happened the plaintiff is entitled in equity to a vested estate tail in the Glugor Estate, Penang, (2) a declaration that the plaintiff is entitled to bar the said entail, (3) conveyance from the defendants of the fee simple in the Glugor Estate upon the plaintiff executing such disentailing declaration as the Court shall seem proper and (4) such further and other relief as the court may think fit.

The Singapore Free Press, 12 May 1926, Page 8
(From Our Own Correspondent).
Penang, May 11.
The funeral of the late Mr. J. R. Brown manager of Glugor Estate, whose death occurred with such tragic suddenness on Sunday, took place at Western Road Cemetery. The Rev. Keppel Garnier, Colonial Chaplain, officiated. There were many mourners present.

The Straits Times, 12 May 1926, Page 8
Penang, May 11.
The funeral of the late Mr. J. R. Brown, manager of Glugor Estate, whose death occurred with such tragic suddenness on Sunday, took place at Western Road Cemetery. The Rev. Keppel Garnier, Colonial Chaplain, officiated. There were many mourners present.

Brown Estate
The Straits Times, 28 September 1966, Page 11
PENANG. Tues. - Representatives from 23 Penang Umno youth branches will attend a special delegates' meeting on Oct. 2 at Umno Hall to hear a report from the executive committee on developments relating to Brown Estate.

State 'yes'
The Straits Times, 27 November 1971, Page 17
PENANG. Fri. - The State Government has agreed to the Federal Government's proposal to sell part of the former Brown estate in Glugor for development as an industrial or housing estate.


B. External links on durian:
Durian in Facebook
Varieties of popular durian
Durian types
Durian farm
Durian Timeline photos in Facebook

Feedback from Durian in Facebook:

Hi, according to an article in the Strait Time in Singapore dated 22 june 2015, it mentioned the durian 'Ang Har' originated from either Pahang or Johore...
Prof...are you into research on the Durian?


C. Update on 10 March 2016:

Location of Glugor House, a plantation house owned by Brown:

My comment: This house is also featured in a painting at the Penang Museum.

Glugor House was converted into the British Minden Barracks in 1939 (1939-1971), and now houses the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) main campus (1971-present).

USM main campus has a durian growing garden in a valley, called Durian Valley. The durian trees here were from the original variety planted at this location. Durian Valley is still extant. Visitors to the USM campus in Penang can ask for directions to the Durian Valley at the main entrance to the campus or check the USM campus website for more details about Durian Valley.


D. Update on 26 April 2016:

I happened to watch TV in the morning and it talked about Red Prawn durians.

My summary:
The durian farm belongs to Mr Sheng, whose father came from China and settled at Balik Pulau, Penang. About 70% of the trees planted by his father are now 50 to 60 years old. They are about 100 feet tall and produce good quality Red Prawn durians. The durian trees that Mr Sheng planted are about 30 years old, and will take well over 30 years to become mature trees and bear quality durians for his children and their generation.

Astro C703 Asian Food Channel (AFC)
Taste with Jason S8 Ep09
26 & 27 April 2016
6.05-6.35; 6.35-7.05 am

This is part of the dialogue (I missed the first part):

Sheng: It has the colour of cooked prawns and it's one of Penang's most famous durians.
Jason: Sheng, let me try the Red Prawn ...
Sheng: It feels like eating ice-cream. This one you are having is delicate and fragrant.
Jason: And it's more refreshing and floral.
Sheng: That's right. So it is younger.
Jason: What are the features of Red Prawn?
Sheng: It has a unique aroma, and its flesh is very delicate and there is no fibre.
          There is fibre in other durians, but when you eat Red Prawn ... or eating ice-cream.
          These two are even more special. They are from old trees - 50 to 60 years old.
Jason: 50 to 60 years old?
Sheng: See if you can taste the wine, and it's especially bitter.
Jason: You're right!
Sheng: Young Red Prawn durians are only sweet and floral. Old ones have an extra layer of
           bitterness and hints of wine
Jason: This is what Sheng does every day (feed durian to customers)
Sheng: The freshness of the durians. So now you know that. Your tongue will turn numb eating it.
          You can only have it here. The numbness lasts only for a few seconds.
          Even durians have a golden half hour, and its interaction with the tongue produce
          unexpected results.
Jason: When you take a bite, your tongue feels a bit different - it's biting into my tongue!
Sheng: That's right!
Jason: It was a quick bite!
Sheng: That's right! When you experience the numbness, the aromas are amplified. The flavours
          explode outwards in that instant, and it has to be within half an hour after it falls.
Jason: How much is one of these? Is it expensive?
Sheng: Yes, it is!
Jason: Sheng gets all excited whenever he talks about durians.
          Over 70% of his trees are more than 30 years old.
          For a durian enthusiast like himself ...
Jason: So all of these are ...
Sheng: ... by my grandfather when he came from China ... apply for a permit from the land office ...
          He started to plant peppers, cloves, cardamoms ... then slowly changed over to planting durians
Jason: Sheng is of Huizhou Hakka descent. His ancestral durian plantation is situated in Penang, at
          Sungai Pinang in Balik Pulau. This area was supposedly the earliest area in Penang where the
          Hakkas settled in. It is believed that they chose to settle in this hilly region because in their  
          homeland ...
          Second generation?
Sheng: That's right!
Jason: It looks like it is almost 100 feet tall!
Sheng: ... are only 30 to 30 years old now, will take another 30 over years ... forefathers leave behind
          for their descendants. It will be sweet, bitter ...
Jason: Every durian tree in the Balik Pulau plantation ... the hard work of the first generation Hakka
          forefathers after they arrived here. Without their enduring spirit, there would not be the
          harvests of today.

Special thanks:
Wilwe Sdn Bhd
Dr Ko Chung Beng
Ko Skin Specialist
Dr Lee Chee Chau

Choo Chi Han
Chiu Keng Guan
Terry Lian
Hor Wai Leng

Videographer: __ (Chinese script)

Editor: Kiang@Octopost
Researcher: __ (Chinese script)
Mixing: Chee Kean @ Infusion

Producer: Pang Khong Peng
Executive Producer: Jason Yeoh

Produced by Insane Kitchen

Download Axian Apps:

Boo Seng Durian Farm
150 MK2 Sungai Pinang
11010 Balik Pulau,

N 5.24.170
E 100.13.167

HP: 012-411-0600

Open: 1100-1900