At first glance, you may not be sure what to make of this. It looks a little like a contorted coconut, or maybe a funky fossilized dinosaur egg. You may be familiar with it...but durian is an internet sensation. The Southeast Asian fruit is best known? For it's stink.
Kirkland may be a long way from Southeast Asia, but at family-fun Reunion Cafe, it's the perfect place to get a taste of Malaysia, including a delicate dessert made with, you guessed it, durian!
The fact that it smells a bit like rotting flesh is just the first surprise, the next is...just how much of it there is! The smell didn't deter me at all, so I dug in.
My reaction? Citrus mixed with a tad bit of wet sock. Not too bad, in this case, but the weird consistency of a scrambled egg did not help.
Grace Ting and Robert Tju own Reunion Cafe. Ting is also the baker who transforms the ferocious-looking fruit into a delectable dessert called the Durian Crepe Cake. In fact, she's pretty sure Reunion is the only place you can get a cake like this in the state of Washington.
"I will mash, kind of like blend the Durian flesh and then put it together with the crème," explains Ting.
And GUYS! The cake was actually delicious! Much better than the plain fruit (I guess that's what adding creme does). It's kind of melty, soft and cold in your mouth all at once. The combination is simply amazing.
There are plenty of other palate-pleasing dishes here.
"We have the Nyonya Laksa which is more traditional," said Tju. "Shredded chicken, eggs, fish cakes and then you have yakisoba as well as rice noodle. And then there's the kyabota waffle. Kya means 'reach' in Malaysia, and this is the waffle version instead of the brioche toast."
Another of our favorites? The hand-pulled tea called tayari. Reunion pulls the tea, where it forms a bubble and creates a foam on the top while they're serving it. And then...do it again six or seven times!
I don't advise you try this at home - but it is absolutely delicious.
Whatever you order at Reunion, a warm feeling of family is always on the menu.
Reunion Malaysian Cafe + Kitchen
339 Kirkland Ave.
Kirkland, WA 98033