Our Thai Honeymoon: Durian

Durian is a fruit native to southeast Asia. It has a unique and very distinct odor. The only way I can think to describe it is that it smells like melon at first then, almost immediately, like a garbage bin of rotting fruit. If you ride a bike or motorcycle by a vendor selling durian, the scent is absolutely unmistakable once you know what it is. In fact, we saw taxis and buses with decals banning smoking and durian inside. In fact, several municipalities ban durian in public places.


From afar or to the untrained eye, it can look a bit like jackfruit, although it tastes waaaaaaaaaay different.


I was challenged by several friends and family members to try durian while in Thailand.  We found it on our first day out and about.  Driving motorbikes downhill after visiting Phuket’s Big Buddha, we encountered a produce stand with the unmistakable smell wafting…

Durian vendor we found coming down the hilltop from Phuket's Big Buddha

I summoned up all my nerve and paid 30 Baht (about 93 cents) for a whole durian fruit, which the vendor sliced open with a machete.  We gathered ’round, nervously laughing.

Inside the Durian

The consistency is creamy and a little stringy. It tastes like sweet, caramelized onion or garlic at first but the flavor progresses into a somewhat rotten aftertaste. The vendor in this video actually showed me “how” to eat it, which is to suck in air sharply while holding the fruit in your mouth. The result is that you simultaneously smell and taste the pungent, aromatic onion sweetness. This method definitely detracts from the bad aftertaste although it doesn’t totally eliminate it. Several products in Thailand use durian as an ingredient. In processing, it is somehow improved in flavor, but the aftertaste is always present, even in small traces.

It IS sold in the US at some Asian markets if you’re curious…

Other fruits and veggies at the same market stand:

One Response to “Our Thai Honeymoon: Durian”

  1. […] WordPress.com weblog « Our Thai Honeymoon: The Best of Thailand’s Cuisine Our Thai Honeymoon: Durian […]

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