Sunday, July 10, 2011

Durian: The Perfectly Unique Tropical Fruit Crowned As "The King of Fruits"

The durian is a perfectly unique tropical fruit which has no comparison. You can't compare it to the soursop or jackfruit although both fruits have similar shape, size and husk colour to the durian. Durian is exquisite. There is no fruit in the world you can compare it to.

 "King of Fruits" vs pretenders

The durian is totally unique with its thorny husk and smooth and creamy yellow flesh, strongly exotic taste, and sharply aromatic smell. However, the durian is often referred to as a controversial fruit. You either love it or hate it! Read more HERE..

Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, hated the durian because he found the smell of durian nauseating and gave him a headache. Many durian detractors also complained that it smells like garbage, moldy cheese, rotting fish, rotting onions, dirty socks, bile, or vomit. The odour is so strong and pervasive that public transport such as the train do not allow passengers to bring durian into its carriages. Even the best hotels prohibit guests from bringing durian into their rooms.

A warning sign on board the Singapore MRT.
 But, the proof is in the eating. What the famous 19th century naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, had to say after he ate his first durian in Borneo:

"A rich, butter-like custard highly flavored with almonds, but intermingled with wafts of flavor that call to mind cream cheese, onion sauce, brown sherry and other incongruities. The more you eat of it, the less you feel inclined to stop."

D24 - an opened fruit
Wallace loved it. And hundreds of thousands, possibly millions more people, especially in the southeast Asian region love this perfectly unique tropical fruit. I love durians. My family and grandchildren love durians. So do my relatives, friends and neighbors. We all love durians! After all, durian originated from this region a long, long time ago.

Durian drawing by a 4-year boy

The durian is not just limited to this region. Modern communication and travel has help spread the demand for durian all over the world.   Durian lovers can be found in Japan, Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan. Durian fans can also be found in Australia, USA, Canada and Europe.

Common sight - a durian orchard or dusun along the highway

Durian stalls displaying durians of all shapes and sizes
In Malaysia, the durian  is the most popular tropical fruit and is affectionately referred to as the “King of Fruits”. In the past, you have to wait patiently for the durian season to arrive to enjoy this delicious fruit. But, nowadays, you can eat durians to your hearts content almost all year round.

Durians of all shapes and sizes for durian lovers

Window to the delicious world of the durian
 You can find durians on sale almost anywhere in the country: supermarkets, fresh markets, fruit stalls, roadside stalls, stalls-on-wheels etc.

Durians at a fruit stall

A roadside durian stall at a housing estate

Delivering fresh durian fruits for sale

The popular D197 - Musang King displayed outside an organic food shop.

Thornless durians? It is real or a gimmick to attract curious buyers?

In coffee-shops, durian sellers even bring the fruit to your table while you are having your favorite kuey-teow, nasi lemak or roti canai.

Pre-pack fresh durians at supermarkets
Local durians are the best but you can also get some good quality durians from neighboring countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. If you haven't tasted durian before, try it! You be the judge once you have tasted it.

Fresh Frozen Durian in boxes at the supermarket

Enjoying his durians as a dessert
Many local Asian people acquired their taste for durian while young and my love affair with this unique fruit started while I was still a toddler. Most people, including westerners, who have eaten good quality durian become lifelong addicts.

Introduction to local fruits - durian, rambutan and mangosteen

A little boy looks perplexed amongst adults enjoying the durians

Frozen durian just taken out from the freezer

Eat-all-you-can Durian Festival to help the needy
We Ate for Charity - Durian Festival to help the needy
Local kampung durians, mangosteens and rambutans

Plenty of durians - all you can eat

 This blog is all about the durian. I like to share whatever durian information and experiences about the durian that I have gathered while I was working with the Department of Agriculture. I am not a durian expert or planter for I do not have a durian farm or a durian tree in my backyard. I just love durian. You'll too if you start it right. And I'll show you how.
A couple of old traditional durian trees in a village

A modern durian farm

Please see my Pages on the right-hand column for the various topics on durian that I have posted. I have added a new page on durian videos posted on YouTube. They are very informative even though some of them are in Thai, Tagalog, Khmer, Malay or Mandarin.

This blog is an on-going project and I will add relevant topics as the need arises. Meantime, you can leave your comments and I'll be very happy to do what I can.  Do come back and visit soon.