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Food 101

The King of All Fruits: Bizarre Facts about Durian

Never has there been a fruit that polarizes like durian; a light green, spiny, melon-like fruit from southeast Asia tastes delicate, creamy, and bittersweet.    Here are four little known facts about the fruit that we love to hate or hate to love.

  • In Southeast Asia (particularly Thailand, Laos and Vietnam), a home remedy for treating bed bugs is to use the peel of the durian fruit.  You would place the durian peel where the bed bug infestation can be found for at least a week.  The smell of durian will send the bed bugs scurrying. 
  • Durian is not always welcome in public spaces throughout Asia.  Many countries have banned durian to spare commuters the misery of enduring the pungent aroma of durian, which can be detected as far away as the next subway car.  The following countries have prohibited durian in public places:
    • Singapore has banned it in all public places; this includes airports, hotels, underground subways, buses and parks.
    • Thailand strongly recommends not bringing it on public transportation.  Other riders will rudely stare at you and discuss how the durian stinks.  Don’t even think about sneaking it onto a Thai subway. No matter how well you think you are disguising the durian or insulating it in multiple layers of plastic bags, the Thais can smell it.
    • China, Hong Kong and Japan have restrictions on durian at their airports.
  • In Thailand there are over 200 varieties of durian fruit, only a handful are of commercial importance: mon thong, kradum thong, kan yao, chanee and puang manee. Additionally, durian is not native to Thailand but it is one of Thailand's most renowned exports. Each year, the export value of durian exceeds $2 billion baht ($66 million USD).  More than half of Thailand’s durian exports comes to the US for consumption. 
  • The Boa Sheng Durian Farm in Penang, Malaysia allows durian aficionados to vacation  on their 6.7 acres of durian farmland  for RM180 ($30 USD) per room for a two day, one night package.  Some of the perks include a queen-sized bed, a private swimming pool, a durian tasting of more than 6 kinds of durian!

Have you tried durian?  What sort of ways have you eaten durian? Do you know of any other countries that have a ban on durian in public places? 

Comments (1)
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lamiaspet wrote 3 yearss ago

when I was in Hong Kong, i tired durian creme brulee.  It was really good - you couldn't smell the durian in the creme brulee.  i won't go near the fresh stuff at all.