The durian is known as the ‘King of the Fruits’ a label that can be attributed to its huge size (up to 7kg for some varieties), formidable look, and (for some) an overpowering odour. With this size and this crazy armor, the idea of sovereignty over the kingdom of fruits makes sense.
With a fruit this size, sitting or standing under a Durian tree when it is the season is hazardous, as a blow to the skull from a falling durian can be fatal.
The best description of Durian comes from the naturalist and greatest of all archipelago travellers, Alfred Russel Wallace – ‘The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. 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. It is neither acidic nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. … as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed’.
The Indonesians believe durian to have aphrodisiac qualities. A saying in Indonesian, ‘durian jatuh, sarung naik’, meaning when the durians fall the sarongs comes up, refers to this belief.
Also, eating durian along with alcohol can be dangerous (I can confirm this from personal experience). Now intrepid researchers have confirmed there may be some truth in this supposition. It is the first time combining a fruit with booze has been scientifically linked to an adverse reaction.
Also, being a seasonal fruit, it is eagerly awaited and makes durian lovers go nuts when it finally shows up in the markets. It is weird, which is probably one of its strongest qualities. It tastes and smells like nothing else. It is singular and strange, with a hint of danger. So eating a simple fruit becomes a real adventure.
Forget what people tell you about the smell – try it and you will never forget the unique taste and texture of this creamy fruit – as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed!