NANNING, Nov 3 — The highly-anticipated three-day Malaysian Durian Festival 2017 (MDF2017), which kicks off here today, will give the Chinese the experience of enjoying fresh durians in the ‘kampung way’, said the event’s joint-coordinator Datuk Robin Wong Hee Joo.
Speaking to the reporters here, he said that the uniqueness of Malaysian culture — where they can enjoy such delicacies together regardless race, religion and status, was something that organisers intended to promote, explaining the reasons the committee chose to hold the event in an open space.
“The way Malaysians enjoy durian in Malaysia is more like a community-based activity, just like how we eat at the famous SS2 food outlets in Petaling Jaya… we like the atmosphere, the culture and the way we eat.
“Which is why we are bringing out an outdoor event rather than indoors, very ‘kampung style’, so that they can experience how we eat durians in Malaysia,” he said after checking on preparations for the festival.
The festival, which is jointly-organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rimbunan Hijau and Regal International, has brought in five tonnes of the famed Musang King variety alongside 250 durian-related products and other fresh fruits including jackfruits and pineapples.
Robin expected around 300,000 visitors following the fact that the festival is ranked at 15th spot in China’s popular Internet search engine, Weibo.
“Everything has been considered, and planned, and we hope people coming here can support us and have a good atmosphere, a good time here…. I’m quite surprised that people here like durians so much.
“On the advertising and promoting part, we have a few local TV stations as well as the media highlighting the festival, and many people went to the search engine. I believe that on the Weibo search engine we 15th most popular, and as far as I’m concerned that’s very good,” he said brimming with excitement.
Apart from showcasing the durians and fresh fruits, the organisers also revealed that they were aiming to promote the 1Malaysia concept through cultural performances by dancers from Tourism Department, comprising dances of the Malays, Indians, Iban and Bidayuh (representing Malaysia’s Borneo part), and of course those of Malaysia’s Chinese commun ity,” Dominic Su, Chief Executive Officer of Regal International said.
Sam Hoo, Managing Director from Beho Fresh Sdn Bhd, one of the 40 Malaysian exhibitors, said he felt proud after being selected as a participant by the ministry, saying that it was a patriotic being able to showcase the king of fruit, and at the same time promoting the identity of Malaysia.
Bringing along about 3.8 tonnes of Musang King, making his company the biggest contributor for the event, Hoo said Beho Fresh has been looking forward to penetrating the huge Chinese which is predominantly controlled by Thailand.
“We have been studying the market here, both physical and social media strategy. Once our government gets the approval (to export fresh durians here), we will straight away execute our marketing plan here,” he said.
Another exhibitor, Chef Mohamad Daud Abu Bakar from EZ Classic Sdn Bhd, told reporters that he was looking forward to the business matching event, involving some 400 entrepreneurs from both China and Malaysia.
“I brought my best product — Gelato D24 Durian Ice cream, because I believe it’s going to add more hype to the durian frenzy here. This event is different from other durian showcasing or expo because it’s a government-to-government (G2G) initiative.
“Which is why, I aim to do networking here, and I just learned that we are scheduled to visit Qin Zhou Industrial Park (QIP), and there’s a possibility for us to open a factory there. That would be one of my priorities here,” the chef, with 35 years of experience in pastry,” added.
Meanwhile, the local people were already hyped up about the festival, saying that they have been waiting for the MDF2017 due to the massive coverage by the Chinese press.
“I am not picky on the type of durians, I will eat it as long as it’s delicious. I don’t mind paying a higher price if it’s delicious… so I am looking forward to this festival,” 50-year old community worker Madam Teng said.
“Some people said durians are smelly, but to me, it smells really good, sweet taste, and I love it, especially the Musang King. Before I tried Musang King, I heard people saying how nice the fruit is, I went on and tried it and love it,” 20-year old beauty consultant, Ding Li Na said. — Bernama