In Southeast Asia, this “King of Fruits” needs no introduction. With a reputation for its strong odour and delicious flesh, the fruit attracts locals and tourists alike. This fruit is definitely unforgettable with its pointy exterior and multiple flesh inside it. Some may find it unappealing, but to durian lovers, it is definitely heaven in a bite.
The appearance of durian is generally oval, but there are some durians which have unique, irregular shapes. The taste of round durian is usually blander than its irregular-shaped relatives. Its exterior is covered with spikes, and a particular method is required to split the fruit open to reveal its segmented chambers which house the flesh. It has a smell that is indescribable to most and but is generally described as a strong, pungent odour which is known to linger for several days. Durians are the fruit to trees belonging to the genus, Durio.
Fun Facts about Durian
There are over 100 varieties in Malaysia
The popular types of durian in Malaysia include D24, Musang King and Red Prawn. Officially,there are 134 varieties durians registered with the government. With the most recently registered variant being D200, Black Thorn (Ocee).
- Banned in some places : Due to the persistent and overpowering smell of durian, it is usually forbidden at enclosed and public spaces. This includes hotels, public transport, taxis, and aeroplanes.
- Durian, the superfruit: Often misunderstood as unhealthy, durian has a high nutrient content compared to other fruits. It is naturally rich in Vitamin C, fibre, potassium and antioxidants. Do note that moderation is vital, as there have been a few cases where individuals had to be rushed to the hospital for dizziness and breathlessness after consuming too many durians in one go.
- Young and Old: Depending on when the fruit is harvested, its texture and taste vary. When it is collected early, it is tough and bitter. The fruit is usually harvested early for export purposes. Traditionally, the fruit is eaten once it has fallen to the ground. Consumers typically prefer the fruit to be overripe as the flavours become more pronounced and the flesh is very soft at that point.
- Colourful: The flesh of durian differs according to the variant of the fruit. Colours that are commonly seen are yellow, red and orange.
- Harvest and Production: The durian tree begins to produce fruits 5 years after it’s been planted. Durian season usually starts around June to August. Durian is generally grown in an orchard as they fall to the ground when ripe and may cause injury to a person. Although durian is indigenous to Thailand, the country is the largest producer and exporter of durian.
- Feast of Durian: Once durian is in season, roadside vendors and even durian restaurants will be packed with freshly harvested durian. The ever famous Durian SS2 serves you a variety of durians, and for one price, you can enjoy and eat to your heart’s content at their durian buffet.
Durian-Inspired Delicacies in Malaysia
Durian is perfect for making ice cream because of its creamy consistency and mild sweetness. The ice cream can be eaten on its own or added to waffles for a complete dessert. Relish the cooling dessert at Inside Scoop (with multiple outlet locations) with their D24-flavoured ice cream and their signature waffles. McDonald’s also has a special menu for durian lovers which has real D24 in their McFlurry™ and McFlurry™ party.
There are endless possibilities as cake and durian definitely go together. Try out Charlie’s café’s Musang King durian cheesecake and Durian Imperial cream cake at Arch Café, Kuala Lumpur (KL). You can also find Musang King Mille crepes, durian tiramisu and decadent durian chocolate cakes.
This dessert is traditionally served with gula Melaka (palm sugar), coconut milk and various toppings. In the case of durian cendol, durian flesh is added to make the dessert rich in taste, and the creamy flesh complements the coconut milk and sweet palm sugar. You can try this at Durian SS2, Durian King TTDI and Rojak and Cendol at Shah Alam.
With its unique flavour profile, durians can even be incorporated into savoury dishes. The combination of cheese and pizza is simply irresistible. You can try one at the nearest Pizza Hut or at Café de Metta, Atria Shopping Gallery.
With the Korean wave going strong in millennials, it is no surprise that this fusion dessert is a hit among the locals. The mountain of ice is topped with cream, panna cotta, chocolate and syrup. Enjoy these shaved ice treats at Kakigori, Hanbing Korean Dessert Café and Tong Pak Fu Hong Kong Desserts.
A wide array of pastries has been made featuring this spectacular fruit. Similar to a custard puff, durian puffs are pastry puffs that contain durian cream filling. Have them fresh out of the oven at Durian Durian (KLCC and Mid Valley Megamall). Durian croissants are also a big hit among the locals with its flaky pastry and generous durian filling.