Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Durian, that heavenly fruit

One of the spaces I make it a point to check out when I read The Star online is Thumbnails. Thumbnails is a little column that features daily a few reader-submitted captioned pictures with the best shot for the day winning a RM50 prize. I thought today's picture warrants a posting even though it did not win the prize. Titled A thorny challenge by Ch’ng Huck Leong, it features three durians on a tree - and a squirrel having a durian feast.

If you haven't seen durians, this is a great shot. I like it for its clarity and close-upness (you get the drift). Not many of us have seen durians on trees. This is what they look like. Notice one ripe fruit has dropped off as seen by the fruitless stem at the middle fruit. One of the reasons my preference for Malaysian durians as opposed to Thai durians is that Malaysian durians are harvested when they are ripe and when they do ripen, they fall to the ground. That's when they are picked up and go on sale.

The price of durians can range from a cheap RM1 for a (small) fruit during a glut to a high of RM30 a kilogram for a high-end fruit (species-wise). A regular price is likely to be RM5 a kilogram to RM10 for the D24 species. It is usual to pay around RM10 for a reasonably-sized (common species) durian in Kuala Lumpur. D24 remains my favorite because the flesh is smooth (neither too dry nor soggy) and sweet, and most importantly guaranteed wormless according to the durian-vendor.

Here's something to remember.. best not to leave durians on the floor for too long especially overnight as the flesh will turn soggy from all that dampness from the floor. If you have unfinished durian, transfer the flesh from the husk to a (preferably snug-cover) container (Tipu-ware will do too) and store it in the fridge. Durians taste even sweeter when chilled - my personal take.

As to how to get rid of durian smell in the fridge, leave some orange or lemon peels or another other citrus peels in the fridge. If you can find Charcoal, it works better. A few pieces would do wonders. Charcoal pills can be used too.

According to a Chinese belief, durians do have eyes which accounts for why there has not been anyone being hit by a falling durian. This is an assumption, of course. The actual reason may be because durians normally fall at night when no one wanders out at the orchard during that time of the day/night. Durians are collected in the morning and distributed to the various marketing spots, mostly outstation as the orchards are normally located in rural places and away from towns.

During durian season, like now, if you go interstate, you will come across durian stalls along trunk roads. It is not uncommon to see people sitting or standing around at roadside durian stalls sampling the taste-like-heaven but smell-like-hell king of fruits.

If durians are not for you, sample our mangosteens and rambutans. They are in season now too. In the context of Yin and Yang, mangosteens are a cooling fruit while rambutans are considered heaty, thus best to take everything in moderation.

A word of caution here though: Durian is a heaty fruit (- hot dry weather bears best yield). Take heed that durian and cognac DON'T go together. Take one or the other but never both together! Result can be rather unpleasant (understatement here probably). I believe people with hypertension should also take the fruit in moderation.

Like cheese, durian is an acquired taste. You either hate it or love it - no grey, just black or white! Anthony Bourdain went looking around for the fruit in Cambodia and found it nice, while the bizarre food-eater, Andrew Zimmern found it not so agreeable. What about you? Do you love it or hate it? LOL!


  1. I hate durian!! The taste not the smell, lol!

  2. LOL! Lindy, you must be the first person I know who hates the taste of durian. Most people can't stand the smell. Oops! That's aroma for durian-lovers.. Thank you for coming by, and for sharing your stand.

  3. I used to love Durian....not anymore. Not that I don't like the taste but I just don't want to have heaty body later after consuming it.

  4. I love durian but I learn not to keep them even overnight in my home. The smell is too overpowering. ;p

  5. I can love no hate..~;).

  6. hmmm, i don't like durians and anything to do with durians at all.. not the taste and not even the smell, haha.. :D

  7. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Been eating quite abit of this fruit recently. Love the red prawn and honey varieties.

  8. I love, love, love, love durians!! And a big high 5 to Anthony Bourdain! LOL!!

  9. Oh yes, I love Malaysian durians more than Thai durians. Ours are more aromatic and sweeter. And I love D24 the best!! No Musang King for me!

  10. Thanks for all the tips about how to keep durians from turning soggy and how to get rid of durian smell in the fridge! Really helpful. Hmmm, think I will start eating cold durians from now on - only problem is, I tend to finish all the durians so there's no chance of leaving some in the fridge! LOL!!