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The Durian: King of All Fruits

Updated on August 3, 2011
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Dohn121 is a freelance writer who currently resides in the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains of New York's famed Hudson Valley.

Is it a weapon or can we eat it?

The sharp thorns of the Durian
The sharp thorns of the Durian
Durian banned on Singapore Mass Rapid Transit
Durian banned on Singapore Mass Rapid Transit
Are Durian and King Koopa Cousins?
Are Durian and King Koopa Cousins?
Durian contains some of the highest concentrations of hydrogen sulfide found in a fruit
Durian contains some of the highest concentrations of hydrogen sulfide found in a fruit

The Enduring Durian

Having written an article on "The Mangosteen: Queen of all Fruits" (and now, "The Jackfruit: The Jack of All Fruits") I believed it only fitting that I write an article on "The Durian: King of all Fruits" as these three indigenous fruits certainly rule (and perhaps ruin) the world...In one article I researched, one writer wrote the following when describing the Durian's appearance: "It has a spiky-football-shape and looks quite dangerous to touch." I thought she was accurate enough when saying so.

Whereas the Mangosteen is loved throughout the world for its delicious favorable flavor, the Durian is infamous for its odor. Many despise it while others bask in its "aroma." The fact stands that no other fruit in the world garners such love/hate opinions: You either love in or hate it. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. The best example of this is in Singapore where its citizen love and hate the presence and odor or aroma of the Durian. On its Mass Rapid Transit line, the law prohibits its passengers from boarding while carrying a Durian, yet a high-tech building, the "Esplanade 4" was proudly constructed and was inspired by the infamous fruit. Here are just some of the "Durian-similes" I found regarding the scent or stench of the Durian:

  • Like month-old unwashed gym socks
  • Like carrion and more carrion...
  • Like the city dump on a hot summer day

Still, some say that Durian, "Smells like Hell and tastes like heaven." Others who have tried it hated it at first but then grew fond of it later on. Safe to say that for those of you that do enjoy its acquired taste, there are many ways to enjoy the Durian. Provided in this article/hub are pictures of the following: Durian Ice Cream from Nestle Waters, a Durian Yule Log, Durian Chips, Durian Flan, Durian Cake, Durian Pastries, Durian Sugar Wafers, and Durian Candy. So love it or hate, the mass popularity and the high demand for the Durian, the King of All Fruits promises that it will be around for a long, long time.

Click to enlarge

Durian Flowers
Durian Flowers
A Statue of the Durian
A Statue of the Durian
Durian Cartoon
Durian Cartoon
Durian T-Shirt
Durian T-Shirt

Fun and Interesting Facts About Durian

The following is information you may not have known about Durian:

  • A single Durian can weigh as much as 7 pounds (3 kilos) and grow up to 12 inches long (30 cm) and 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter
  • The oldest Durian trees produce the highest quality Durian
  • Are native to Borneo and Sumatra
  • Are found wild or semi-wild in Lower Burma (Myanmar) and the Malaysian peninsula
  • Is commonly cultivated in Southeastern India, Ceylon, and New Guinea
  • Singapore is a country that was so inspired by the Durian that it constructed a building naming it the "Esplanade 4"
  • Singapore is a country that is so disgusted by the smell of the Durian that it banned it from its Mass Rapid Transit line
  • In many airports, hotels, and other public places, Durian are prohibited by law
  • Thailand and Malaysia are among the world's top producers of Durian; the two countries are also known to produce the best quality Durian throughout the world
  • In Thailand, there are over 300 named species of Durian
  • Durian are actually capsules in which edible parts are called arils
  • Durian and Mangosteen make up some of the only 1% of the world's "arillate" fruits
  • Standing underneath a Durian tree is considered highly dangerous, as a free-falling Durian is known to be fatal upon impact
  • Durian trees grow between 27 and 40 meters (between 88 and 130 feet)
  • The leaves of the Durian are highly fragrant
  • Its flower has 3 petals with 5-lobed bell-shaped calyx that are 2 to 3 inches long
  • In several tropical countries such as Borneo, the husks of the Durian is used to smoke meats
  • It is a known fact that you should not drink any carbonated drinks (like beer) while eating Durian as it has been known to cause serious bowel damage and could quite possibly lead to death

Durian Cake
Durian Cake

Click to enlarge

Durian Wafers
Durian Wafers
Durian Ice Cream from Nestle?
Durian Ice Cream from Nestle?
Durian Candy...Great for Halloween!
Durian Candy...Great for Halloween!
Durian Flan
Durian Flan
Durian Flavored Yule Log
Durian Flavored Yule Log
Durian Chips
Durian Chips

Durian (Durio zibethinus)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 150 kcal 620 kJ Carbohydrates 27.09 g - Dietary fiber 3.8 g Fat 5.33 g Protein 1.47 g Water 65g Vitamin C 19.7 mg 33% Potassium 436 mg 9% Edible parts only, raw or frozen.
Refuse: 68% (Shell and seeds)
Source: USDA Nutrient database[40]
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.

The Many Ways in Which to Enjoy Durian

There's no better way to enjoy Durian than to eat it raw. However, this could prove to be a very costly habit if Durian is readily available in your part of the Jungle. Keep in mind that fresh Durian is most potent and releases an odor even when its hull is closed! Fresh Durian are among the most expensive fruit and could cost upwards of $4 or more depending on the locale. A cheaper alternative is to buy in frozen. This is definitely a great option, as only the "meat" or aril is kept so there's no need to fuss over prying it open (some people use a potholder and butcher knife combo in doing so).

Some Tips on Durian Consumption

If you enjoy Durian, you should have some consideration for those who do not like its strong cologne. Here are some helpful "Don'ts":

  • Do not burp after eating Durian, it lingers like no tomorrow
  • Do not kiss your better half after eating Durian unless you wanted to break-up or wanted to sleep on the couch anyway
  • Do not stand underneath a Durian tree unless you have a deathwish
  • Do not leave durian in your fridge uncovered, otherwise EVERYTHING will smell like Durian!
  • Do not mix Durian with carbonated drinks...You'll be sorry if you do
  • Do not store Durian in your car on a hot summer's day...You might have to sell your car if you do...And good luck trying to find a motivated buyer

How to Choose a Good Durian (Please try not to laugh)

  • Pick the Durian that is comparatively the lightest out of the bunch
  • Durian with big, solid stems are best
  • Shake your Durian...Its seeds should rattle
  • A good sign of a ripened Durian is when it exudes a strong but not sour scent
  • The thorns of the Durian should be stiff and strong, not brittle
  • Watch out for holes in your Durian, as they are good signs of worm infestation
  • When impaling the Durian with a knife, it should come out sticky


The Truth Comes/ Reeks Out

Yes, I'll admit it...I am a fan of the Durian! I've tried different varieties of Durian, such as Durian Sugar Wafers is one of my favorites. However, nothing beats fresh Durian straight out of its hull. Just a tip, if you do eat Durian, don't burp. It's smells awful to those who aren't wild about it. And don't dare to kiss your better half after indulging yourself in the Durian Dream as such senseless act could well lead to break-up or an over-nighter on Sofa City! If you're wondering what Durian tastes like, I'd say it tastes something like the cross between white chocolate and onions. In either case, it truly is a unique and "different" taste experience. So if you are fortunate (or unfortunate enough) to get the opportunity to taste Durian, I hope you do like it. Either way, you'll be in a 50/50 category such is the case! Thank you for reading.

The Esplanade 4 in Singapore
The Esplanade 4 in Singapore

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