What is a Durian?
The Durian is a fruit that is very distinctive for its large size, stomach churning-odour, and a very armoury like with formidable thorn covered husk. The fruit alone can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 inches) long and 15 centimetres (6 inches) in diameter. Its normal weight is usually between one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). To make it easier, think of it as a Morning Star. A type of weapon which was once used back during the age of Knights and Princess age. Except that Durians have more spike than the Morning Star itself.
The Durian shapes are not necessarily an oval or a perfect round shape. It can be either long to oblong, colour of husk is green to brown and its flesh ranging from pale yellow to red, depending on its species.
Due to its shape, the fruit alone is well known among the south-east Asia as the “King of Fruits”.
Its edible flesh is also known for its distinctive odour that is strong and very penetrating even when the husk is still intact. Some people eventually regard the durian as a pleasantly fragrant while others may find it discomforting. Those who dislike its flavour and fragrant will describe it as “the smell of a gym socks”, intense disgust, various almonds, rotten onions, and turpentine. As a result, the smell becomes so popular that the fruit itself was banned from any hotels and trips in certain parts of south-east Asia.
By far, although there are 30 species that grows in the wild in certain parts of Asia, but only 9 species are eatable.
Where was its origin?
The Durian is no longer stranger on the Island of Borneo and certain parts of south-east Asia. The fruit alone was found to be consumed by the local natives during the age of pre-historic times and only known to the Western for 600 years ago. It was first found by a traveller by the name of Niccolo Da Conti during his expedition to south-eastern Asia back in the 15th century. The name of Durian back then was known as Poggio Bracciolini. During his travel record, he described the fruit as a fruit that is the size of a watermelon, with its inner frames containing five things like elongated oranges, and resembling thick butter with different flavours. Back then it was known to be eaten by the Sumatran Island people.
How does Durian got its name?
It is simple. The name Durian, originate from the Malay word as duri which means thorn in English. Duri is a noun in BM and the added –an makes it plural. Its full name is then pronounce as Duri-aa-an. When you say the word fully, it will then sound Durian.
How is it eaten?
Most of the time, south-east Asia prefers Durian to be eaten in a very finger licking good way. Once it is opened and ripe, it can be eaten in such enjoyable manner by most south-eastern Asian people.
Other than that, in culinary, they can turn it into sweet edibles such as traditional Malay Candy, ice kacang, dodol, lempuk, rose biscuits, and with a touch of modern technology, ice-cream, milkshakes, mooncakes, Yule logs, and surprisingly, cappuccino.
In Sarawak however, are known to be eaten in the traditional Kek Lapis and the current trend they call it as fried Durian which can cost up to RM 6 per-piece.
Tempoyak, is usually made out of low quality Durians and that is unsuitable for direct consumption. It can be either cooked or uncooked, normally to be taken with rice. It is part of the menu appetizer which can be either sweet or salty and spicy. Other than that, it is used to make into vegetation soup as well as the secret recipe to curry.
Even the seeds if boiled, it is eatable. It is best eaten while still hot and warm as the taste is not much different than the flavour of almonds.
How do I know what type of Durians I am having?
Durians are just like electronic products. Certain Blu-Ray Players and all that have regions. Except that Durians are eatable. Even Durians have region !!
It actually all depends on where you are making your pit-stop. If you do happen to make your pit-stop around on the West Malaysia side, then you will have a good chance of picking out the ones from Thailand.
Thailand Durians may not have any smell at all. Most tourists, who are daring enough, will start off with the Thailand types. Durians original from Thailand have less fragrant. But for most south-eastern, the smell is what makes it more enjoyable.
If you decide to stop by at Sarawak, the Durians from here will be a real challenge for you if you are from overseas. Be ready for that strong fragrant. Durians in Sarawak, places like in Kuching, the best ones are normally from Kampung Taee, located in Serian, and Bau. To hunt for it, you need to go down to a small town that is quite from the outskirt of Kuching.
Another good piece of Durian located in a small town call Sibu. The Durian supplies are from places like Kapit and Kanowit. Not much difference than the ones from Kuching of course.
Also, if you are planning to visit Mulu National Park located in Miri, be on the lookout for Durians over here. Supplies are usually from places like Brunei or Kapit and Kanowit.
Sabah is a great place for vacation. If you are planning to try out, the Durians here are mostly from Philippines. Philippines Durians too gives you that very different taste and feeling. It is definitely not the same like the ones from Thailand too.
Durians may look the same from the outside but inside, it is very different. Even its taste tells you a different story.
How to select?
If you are thinking of buying one and try it at least once in your lifetime, then here are a few good tips for you.
First of all, Durians are not like any other fruits which can be purchased anytime of the day and any season. The Durians will only be available once a year. Starting season is usually always during September until early January. If you are looking for a good price with more choices to pick and bargain then you should pack your things and come over to Malaysia especially in Sarawak and Sabah during middle of November. You will have plenty to choose and pick.