Durian Fruit is one of the world’s most unusual foods.
It is considered a delicacy in Southeast Asia. It has gained a love-hate relationship due to its pungent smell and unique taste.
Primarily harvested in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, durian fruit has become popular throughout Asia. Today, you can find it in Asian Supermarkets across the US.
We know our senses of smell and taste go hand in hand when eating our food. So, if the smell of durian fruit is unpleasant, how can it taste good?
Asian cuisine has taken kindly to this fruit “outcast,” creating fantastic sweet and savory dishes alongside eating it fresh.
So it is not all gloom and doom for the durian fruit taste. Keep reading to discover more about the world’s smelliest fruit and how to prepare it.
What is Durian Fruit?
Durian fruit is also known as the “king of fruit .”It is large and can grow up to 1 foot (30cm) long and 6 inches (15cm) wide. You can expect up to 2 cups (486 grams) of fruit.
The skin is spiky and greenish-brown in color. Several find the odor distasteful, which has led to durian fruit being banned from public transport and general public areas.
When the fruit is ripe, it often cracks open. The cracks allow for easier preparation. However, if the fruit is too ripe it could be borderline off.
The flesh has a creamy custard-like texture, and the color varies from creamy white to pale yellow and red. It has large seeds about 0.04 inches (1cm) in diameter.
What Does Durian Fruit Smell like?
If there has ever been a fruit to confuse our senses, the smell of durian fruit must be on the top of the list.
Descriptions shared include cut onion, rotten egg, and dirty, sweaty socks. Some even go as far as manure or roadkill.
Unfortunately, it is hard to expect a pleasant taste once our smell detects these odors.
It is best to trust the option of those who use the fruit regularly and are not discouraged by the smell but focus on the taste.
What does Durian Fruit Taste Like?
We know our tastebuds get enticed by aromas before we eat. Therefore, newcomers to durian fruit have struggled to describe the taste accurately.
In Asia, locals have described durian fruit as having notes of nuts, particularly almonds. The creamy texture is similar to custard.
Durian fruit offers various flavors depending on where it is in the ripening process. Furthermore, there are various types of durian fruit, all offering a slightly different taste and texture.
It would appear mature palates unfamiliar with durian fruit battle to enjoy it. Yet, where durian fruit is popular in diets from an early age, it is appreciated in various ways.
5 Varieties of Durian Fruit
There are several varieties of durian fruit available throughout Asia and the US. We have selected 5 for you to try.
1. D24 Durain – bitter taste with sweet and subtle alcoholic notes
This variety is prevalent in Penang. The D24 is often referred to as the “Sultan Durian.” In the 1990’s it was extremely popular before the Moa Shag Wang variety took over its long reign.
It has a strong bitter taste and gets more creamy as you chew it. The alcoholic back taste makes it a fun go-to party food choice.
2. XO Durian – bitter taste with a creamy texture and strong alcoholic notes
The XO durian is primarily found in Johor and Panang. This variety has a pungent smell alongside a robust alcoholic taste.
As this variety takes longer to ripen, the flesh tends to ferment. Hence, the strong alcohol flavor. Also, overeating XO durian can result in drowsiness.
3. D101 – mild sweetness with a buttery texture
The D101 has a soft texture with a slight bitterness. It is mildly sweet and buttery with a subtle creaminess. You can find these spread throughout Malaysia.
We suggest you pair the D101 variety with coconut cream and other tropical fruits, such as mango.
4. D13 – fragrant, sticky with intense sweetness
This variety is fragrant with a strong sweet kick. When compared with other types, it is super sticky.
The bitterness level is relatively low, making the D13 an excellent option to enjoy with sugar syrups and honey.
5. Tekka – sweet with a floral touch
Tekka durian fruit hails from Singapore. It is slightly sweeter than D13. However, they are more acidic. This acid gives it a sharp flavor when unripe.
In its ripe state, Tekka has a strong floral fragrance. Similar to roses. Surprisingly, Tekka durian fruit can disguise bad breath for up to 6 hours after you eat it.
How to Eat Durian Fruit
Durian fruit is well protected in its spikey shell and can be challenging and messy to prepare. We recommend the following cutting method:
- Place your cutting board on a stable surface and cover it with newspaper
- Use a pair of gloves to protect your hands
- Using a sharp knife, slice off the top
- Use the same knife to follow the natural ridges and score shallow cuts along the sides
(keep to shallow cuts to avoid puncturing the fruit)
- Pry open the shell using your fingers or a small pry bar
(This may require some strength)
- Use your hands or spoon to remove the fruit
- Necessary: Remove all the seeds before eating and dispose of the skin
- Wrap up the skin and seeds in the newspaper and disregard
- Give the surface a good clean with an antiseptic spray and a clean cloth
Final Fruity Thought
Are you ready to find out what durian fruit tastes like?
It may surprise you that durian fruit makes excellent cakes and icing.
Despite the smell and taste of durian fruit, many are curious about it.
We would love to hear about your durian fruit eating experience. Let us know!
Good to know:
Notably, insufficient scientific evidence supports the safety of consuming durian fruit, its seeds, and its skin.
Durian Fruit: A Complete Guide to its Taste, Smell, and Preparation
- Ripe Durian
- Choose ripe durian: While the taste of unripe durian may be unbearable for some, a ripe durian should have an aromatic smell with creamy yellow or orange flesh.
- Open the shell carefully: Durians are known for their spiky shells so make sure you handle them with care! Also note that many sellers will provide tools such as knives or cotton gloves to help you open the shell safely.
- Cut the durian in pieces: Once you’ve opened up the durian shell, remove each seed and cut it into smaller segments before eating. This will help you avoid having any sharp edges cut your mouth while eating.
- Enjoy its unique flavor: Now comes the fun part – tasting this unique treat! Durians can range from creamy sweet to savory sour depending on what variety you choose. It's important to remember that there's no right way to eat this exotic fruit – get creative and explore all of its flavors!