Durian – King Of Fruits

It’s that time of the year again in Asia when the much revered and reviled fruit, the durian, is in season. If you’ve never come across the durian, it is a large spiky fruit somewhat resembling a bulbous cactus.

Here’s a quote showing the reverential awe it can inspire:

Imagine the best, most delicious, and sensuous banana pudding you can imagine, add just a touch of butterscotch, vanilla, peach, pineapple, strawberry, and almond flavours, and a surprising twist of — garlic! Like many of life’s greatest experiences, eating durian cannot be adequately described with words. Durian has a characteristic delicious flavour, creamy texture, and tantalizing fragrance that is just… durian! — the king of fruits, nature’s most magnificent fruit gift.Durian Palace

The taste is certainly very unique, being both appealing and slightly repulsive at the same time. It does make a great filling for a dessert, especially when cooked in durian tarts or inside pancakes. Raw durian can be very strong, and is equivalent to eating garlic – it’s a taste you’ll find repeating on you throughout the day.

On first tasting it I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction.Henri Mouhot, French naturalist

What about the smell? Some say the smell is heavenly, others say it is like rotting flesh. Here’s a selection of great quotes:

The durian’s smell is its outstanding feature – it is pungent, a bit like a clogged drain or rotten eggs.Financial Express

It has been likened to rotting onions, unwashed socks and even carrion in custard, but the most accurate description by far is that of a sewer full of rotting pineapples.BBC

Supermarkets here in Guangzhou have a dedicated durian counter. Long queues of people line up at these counters in order to get the freshest possible durian. A skilled durian picker uses a curved blade to pop the skin open, scooping out the strange yellow nuggets of durian meat, which are then placed into a plastic tray and covered with a plastic film.

The smell is so strong and distinct that it is not unusual for hotels to ban the fruit from their rooms, and to actually charge a cleansing fee should sneak them in:

No Durian

4 thoughts on “Durian – King Of Fruits”

  1. I didn’t get to try the Malaysian Durian, but I did find something that was very similar to a Durian but smaller, not as spiky, and with a less pungent smell. Unfortunately I don’t know what it was called (maybe it was the variant you mentioned?)

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