Durian Trivia–14 Fascinating Facts about the world's smelliest fruit
About the Durian
- The durian is commonly known as the "king of the fruits." The name comes from the Malay word duri, meaning "thorn."
- Durians cannot be plucked from the tree. You have to wait for durians to drop. The fruit usually drops at night.
How to Select, Eat & Store Durians
- When choosing a durian, examine the quality of the stem or stalk which loses moisture as it ages. A big, solid stem is a sign of freshness.
- Visible holes in the outside of the durian can indicate the presence of larvae inside. Durians may be attacked by insect pests which lay eggs in the fruit. These develop into worm-like larvae, which burrow into the flesh of the fruit. When selecting a fruit, make sure there are no holes on the outside husk.
- Durians freeze well, either in the rind or just the pulp sections removed from the shell. You can keep durians that have been frozen for months.
- According to Cheah Kim Wai, who has been selling durian for 7 years in Malaysia, durian should be eaten by their grades to maximize enjoyment of the fruit. “You must start by eating the lower grades first, which are much sweeter. The higher the grade, the more bitter the durians are. If you follow this technique you can truly enjoy the taste of the fruit and appreciate the difference between the grades,” says Cheah. Cheah said that if eaten in reverse, the bitter taste of the higher grade durians will overpower the taste of the lower grade ones.
Durian Cultivation, Qualities & Uses
- Durian fruit is used to flavor a wide variety of sweet goods such as traditional Malay candy, rose biscuits, cakes, ice cream, milkshakes, mooncakes and even cappucino.
- According to Durian Place, a fan site set up by durian lovers, in South-East Asia, parasitic worms can be expelled by eating durian and fevers can be reduced by drinking a tea made from the leaves and roots of the durian tree or by simply applying durian leaf juice to the head.
- Thailand is currently one of the largest exporters of durian, even though the fruit is not native to the island.
- Durians are apparently popular in the animal kingdom with a variety of animals – from squirrels to mouse deer, pigs to orangutans, elephants as well as carnivorous tigers and lions. While some of these animals eat the fruit and dispose the seed under the parent plant, others swallow the seed with the fruit, transport it some distance and then excrete it, dispersing the seed along the way.
Watch Out for the Smell
- The smell of a durian has been compared to overripe cheese, rotting fish, unwashed socks, a city dump on a hot summers’ day. Famed movie directors and scriptwriters Ethan and Joel Coen (known as the Coen brothers or the two-headed directors) rated durians as being among the smelliest things on earth.
- Historians report that Sir Stamford Raffles, who established Singapore as a British trading post in 1819, held his nose and ran in the other direction if he so much as caught even a whiff of the dreaded fruit.
Unusual Facts about the Durian
- The durian is reported to be an aphrodisiac, according to several Asian folk sayings.
- The oddly shaped Esplanade building in Singapore is nicknamed "The Durian" by locals, because it looks like one (see image below).
Source: Unless otherwise noted, all trivia was compiled from Wikipedia & The Star Online, a Malaysian newspaper.