Has anyone eaten a durian?

(Zone 9b)

I was curious to try it when I read it was custard like but then read a rather terrible description of the flavor. What did it taste like to you?

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durian
"A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy."[13]

Wallace cautions that "the smell of the ripe fruit is certainly at first disagreeable"; more recent descriptions by westerners can be more graphic. The English novelist Anthony Burgess famously said that dining on durian is like eating vanilla custard in a latrine.

Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says:

"... its odor is best described as pig-badword, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia."[14]

The unusual odour has prompted many people to search for an accurate description. Comparisons have been made with the civet, sewage, stale vomit, skunk spray, and used surgical swabs.[15] The wide range of descriptions for the odour of durian may have a great deal to do with the wide variability of durian odour itself.

Thumbnail by Kell
Merritt Island, FL(Zone 10a)

Durian is my favorite fruit and your smell describers are right....pretty nasty aroma. It's often seen in the US in Asian markets. Mostly it's sold frozen and packed in plastic, shrink-wrapped boxes or sometimes you can find it as whole fruit in net bags.

Many animals really like its flavor; orangutans fight over it and even tigers eat it!

(Zone 9b)

So what about it makes it your favorite fruit, OldNed? And how do you tell if it is ripe? And how do you eat it? Take a hammer to it? THANKS

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I always wondered about it--I've heard both that it tastes really good and that it smells really bad, and I never understood how something could smell bad and taste good at the same time!

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

I had one one time, I wanted to barf and I wanted another bite at the same time. The nose betrays the tongue until one teaches the nose to mind its own business.


Geneva, FL(Zone 9b)

I got one at the local Asian market 2 years ago. A little goes a very long way! In my opinion, the fruit smelled of cat pee. The inside was smooth and I find the Englishman quoted about the latrine to be a dead on description of the taste. it was definitely a one-time experience fo me as I can say I had it.....just don't care to go there again.

BTW-- a special I saw on Discovery one time showed how in Thailand they drape nets under the trees from tree to tree to prevent the fruits from falling on the heads of the grove workers--it can be deadly or injurious if it falls on your head with those VERY sharp spines!

(Zone 9b)

I still may try it but I guess you need to hold your nose. They are not cheap either as they charge per pound.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 10a)

Alan's got it just right...it is delicious but ya gotta get past the smell.

Kell- if you buy it here, it's ripe. The frozen whole fruit, when defrosted (outside the house!), will probably split open with little or no coaxing.

Not only does it stink, but the flesh has an unpleasent consistancy.

Cannot be grown anywhere in the US except Hawai'i....very tropical conditions needed.

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

why, Kell, are you thinking of making us a durian pie??????

(Zone 9b)

I was going to make one just for you Voss and dye it PINK. LOL. But shoot, the smell part I was hesitantly going to get by but this now from OldNed "flesh has an unpleasant consistancy" has me imaging all sorts of yucky things. I am a wuss! LOL

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

I knew about durian fruits as a kid. All above discriptions --- well, it depends on one's opion, but to me, they all have merits. I learned to eat the fruits when I was a kid (guess my sense of smell was underdeveloped) lol.

(Zone 1)

I grew up in Indonesia and had a Durian in my backyard. The fruit tastes very good but the smells is horrible and is even worse when fully ripe. I have bought two Durian in North America and would not bother again. The fresh fruit is clearly shipped very unripe from Asia and the flavour is not even close to a fully tree ripened. The frozen is a bit better but still just doesn't compare. I am not a big fan of flash frozen fruit though. Also the price leaves a lot to be desired. The only expensive asian fruit I will gamble on is mangosteen which also can be a gamble in NA but when the gamble works its worth it. Most of my friends agree though Durian is one fruit that just doesn't really ship well.

The flavour of an actual ripe durian should match the custard description you first quoted. It is best to remove the flesh before consuming so the smell isn't as prominent. Also I like it best served chilled.

Fulton, MO

This might be of interest to some: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/30/news/durian.php?page=2

San Jose, CA(Zone 9b)

Hey Kell~ did you ever try the Durian? I've also been very curious about this fruit that tastes so good and smells so bad... you go first...


Pawling, NY(Zone 5b)

I don't know what to say except that it was horrible. I remember being chase around the house by my mom to have me try it. It smelled nasty beyond belief and I remember that I puked it out after my mom managed to stuff a bit of it into my mouth. I still cringe at the memory. **Shudder** Ugh... **shudder**

Sydney, Australia

It is supposed to taste like raspberry custard (says this magazine)but honestly I can't imagine wanting to eat it bad enough to put up with the smell.....to each their own I guess...I like blue vein cheese and that pongs! =^O

Pawling, NY(Zone 5b)

Well, in my case I didn't eat it voluntarily. Wonder if it peer pressure if it's your family? :)

Houston, TX(Zone 10a)

I want to try it... I offered a friend fresh papaya the other day and she said it smelled to bad to taste... i love it and feed it to the kids all the time..

Venice, CA(Zone 10a)

Hey Guys;I live in Venice,CA.I had been wanting to try ripe Durian for years until last year.On Hollywood Blvd.there is a Thai Grocery store called Shalom.It only sells authentic ingredients for Thai cooking.They started selling Ripe Durian a couple of years ago as there is an Asian Airline Co.that WILL fly them into the US.
It is the size of a soccer ball covered in 1/2 inch sharp spines.Cut in half it has compartments with off white fruit sections.The smell is Deafening! It smells like a spittoon that has not been emptied for awhile.
I wrapped it in saran wrap,then put it in a plastic bag,tied it put it in another bag, tied that and put it in the trunk.20 minutes later my entire car wreaked of this smell.Same thing happened in the refrigerator at home.
The taste is sweet but bland,it does have a creamy,custard like texture,however it is also mixed with crunchy,fibers.(Not a great combo).It also has a distinct garlicky aftertaste.It does have large,interesting seeds,half is rounded the other half is two flat sides (right angles) like two sides of a square.I was going to plant them however they grow into 30 ft trees.
I no longer have a longing to taste Durian.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 10a)

Got to sample both Durian and Mangosteen in Sabah, Borneo last month.

In the bottom-center picture, Durian ("The King of Fruits") is the spikey one front-left. Mangosteen ("The Queen of Fruits") is the purple one beside the Durian.

Thumbnail by OldNed
Merritt Island, FL(Zone 10a)

The other stuff is:

1 Rafflesia-World's largest flower
2 BIG Monitor Lizard
3 Toilet (?) in Airport at Lahad Datu
4 Long-tailed Macaque
5 Warning Sign (NO PRANCING)(?)
6 Tiger Leach
7 Orangutan
8 Durian, Mangosteen +
9 More Fruit

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

2. water monitor: Varanus salvator number 2 or 3 in size depending on who you read. (in the monitor size hierarchy)


Northampton, United Kingdom

. . . a bit late to add to this probably but, anyway, here's my contribution. In Malaysia where I used to live, durians are sold along the roads up and down the country when it's in season. When durians are in season, mangosteens and rambutans are also in season at the same time. The smell that seems to repel so many foreigners often makes the natives drool. I suppose it's a bit like the smell of very ripe cheese: yummy to many westerners but and causes others to retch. What a lovely interesting world we live in!

(Zone 9b)

I think I will wait till I go to Malaysia to try one! The ones here do not sound too appealing. Angela, come with me! LOL

WOW OldNed, what a trip you had. I now want to see a Rafflesia in person!

Bodrum, Turkey(Zone 10a)

I used to travel to Thailand a lot and once i was there during durian season......our hotel had a huge sign saying we werent allowed to bring it in.....
I did eat some, but as mentioned, you have to get past the god awful smell that really leaves you gagging......

Gold Beach, OR(Zone 9a)

Well one time where I worked we thought we had a gas leak because the smell of gas was so strong. After investigating we found a Vietnamese guy eating durian candy. I was told that the smell they put in natural gas is from that fruit. After that session, I never would think about putting something like that in my mouth, hes breath smelled just like natural gas.

Beverly Hills, FL(Zone 8b)

eeewww.... I went to a Vietnamese grocery store in Tampa last weekend and they had the dried durian type candy, so of course I had to buy a bag after reading about it here. I made my hubby try it and he said it wasn't bad so I tried it, it wasn't bad. But after awhile the after taste got so powerful, WOW... I don't think I'll be eating this stuff again.

The smell is kind of hard to describe, kind of like taking a sneeze in your hand and having that funkie smell afterwards.... not that I would know anything about that!


Maple Ridge, BC(Zone 7b)

Definately an acquired taste, very custardy/avocadoish in texture, slightly sweet but not overpoweringly so. An adventure cutting open as a huge, want to say spikey but more like "armor -plated" cover. In local use everything from candies to ice cream is made from it but i have never enjoyed those. Fresh off the tree its quite nice but very rich tasting with massive seeds inside. For such a monstrous fruit it is amazing how small a tree can start producing. One thing is for sure, you sure wouldnt want to walk underneath one of those trees and have a fruit drop off on your head !

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

I ate some prepared by a chef when I was in Thailand a few years ago. It'd just been peeled and was on a plate. I'd heard about a fruit that smelled bad, but tasted good. One bite and I ate all of it! Truly the King of Fruits. But then I've met folks who dislike tropicals, don't like mango, soursop, papaya, amazing! We all have different tastebuds!

Durian has to drop from the 100 foot tall trees, they put soft, springy nets around the trees to catch the fruit so the ripe fruit doesn't hit the ground and bruise. The older the tree, the better the fruit. It must be eaten fresh off the tree, ripened until it drops off. They don't have commercial varieties like strawberries and apples that have tough skins and solid fruit that can ship because it doesn't bruise.

I've always wanted to go back to Thailand in June/July just to eat Durian. The tree cannot tolerate salt, so there's no growing one here, booo. When the sea is rough, everything on the whole Island gets a fine coating of salt.

Canton, GA(Zone 7b)

So I know this is a while after the last response to this thread... but the folks at my office and I just tried a durian...

One guy REALLY chowed down on it... claimed it was good... but I think he just ate it cause he bought it and didn't want to waste it.

Our entire building smells like it, and out of the 10 or so people that tried it, there were a variety of descriptions of it's smell and taste...
sweetened body odor, rotten eggs, death, skunks, scrambled eggs, mango, natural gas, sugar and sulfur, banana and squash, cat urine, a port-a-potty, muscadines, etc...

So, I had a bite twice... the first was tiny and I swallowed it even though I could do was smell it in my mouth... and the second was bigger and i couldn't even chew it. I spit it out and almost gagged... lol.

I have NO idea how people can actually eat this.

Northampton, United Kingdom

For those who love the taste but hate the smell, try this: after enjoying the durian and you've had your fill, rinse your mouth out with water, using a section of the durian shell as the water container. It's magic and it really works!

Mulberry, FL

i think i was just given one of these in side is seeds and a off white meat in side. The man said it was very tastey but did not mention the smell he told me i had to hand pollenate the flowers. To get the fruit to come I'll have to post a picture see if this is whay you have been talking about...Dana thanks

Sarasota, FL

If you think these are bad, just taste Noni: the limburger fruit!
I found a tree years ago in Key West. Thought they were some relative of breadfruit. The ripe ones were a bit mushy, fist-sized, translucent and whitish-blue. The scent would gag a maggot! I thought those were rotton on the tree.
I picked the hard green-white ones. Left them in a friends DeSoto, where they ripened and then liquified in the upside down frisbee.

Mulberry, FL

Ok heres the picture of this small tree

Thumbnail by Danasplants
Toronto, ON(Zone 5b)

YES, ditto to acquired taste. I lived in Southeast Asia for the first 9 years of my life and I never touched that fruit. I finally tasted it when my boyfriend brought me some. It smelled awful to me and it tasted awful for me too (it tasted salty for some reason). I like jackfruits better, they still kinda give off an odd aroma, but they smell and taste better (that's my opinion).

I gave durian another try at a chinese mall where they sell waffle-ice creams thinking that the coldness will offset the taste..but it didn't =/.

Mulberry, FL

At least your honest lol That makes me feel a whole lot better.

San Rafael, CA(Zone 9b)

i love durian and have had it fresh in vietnam. it is so good but definitely and acquired taste. i have to eat it when i know my husband will be gone all day.

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

My roommate is from Malaysia so I am very lucky to try all sorts of interesting foods. Haven't had Durian, but have heard all about it, including to look up to make sure you don't get hit by one falling out of the tree. :)

Morgan Hill, CA(Zone 9b)

has anyone seen the show "bizzare foods with andrew zimmern" (the guy that eats all kinds of realy nasty stuff). he tryed to eat a durian and he couldnt do it! that means something, haha

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

That's a really stupid show, probably why it's so popular.

The trick to tasting Durian is to consciously breath OUT of your nose as you take a bite. And the fruit absolutely be fallen-off-the-tree ripe, and not off the tree for ery long, a couple of days at most. They put springy nets under the trees to catch the fruit, no picking. The trees are 100 feet tall.

Durian is the most heavenly thing I've ever tasted!

But ya gotta do it the right way!

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