When you arrive for your adventure in Thailand, we want you to fall in love with the delicious Durian fruit. Follow our guide and you’ll be able to enjoy this incredible product from Thailand’s natural bounty. Come with us to discover the ‘King of Fruits’!
Grown only in South East Asia’s tropical climate, the country that produces the most delicious Durian is hotly debated amongst those who love it. However, Thailand is undisputedly the largest producer of Durian in the world and many consider it the fruit’s spiritual home.
Thailand has a sweet tooth and a fine assortment of desserts to satisfy it. However, Mother Nature herself produces a food experience so utterly delicious, unusual, and addictive that it gives Thailand’s many sweet and sticky treats a good run for their money. What other natural product could match the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace’s mouth watering description of Durian as ‘a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds’?
But what of its legendary aroma? Like all memorable eating experiences, Durian stimulates all the senses; the eyes, the mouth, and the nose are all rewarded. Don’t be too quick to judge Durian based on its pungency, though. Its complex flavour profile is coupled with an equally complex perfume, which is at first unusual, but aromatic thereafter.
We want you to experience Thailand as authentically as possible and there are few foods that better represent the diversity of our kitchen table. Durian can be found all over Thailand, but Bangkok is a good place to get started on your Durian journey. Elsewhere in Thailand, follow these same rules. Above all, be open minded and prepare to be delighted!
Head on a Durian pilgrimage to Or Tor Kot Market
Durian is a seasonal fruit, but Or Tor Kot Market offers a year round supply of delicious Durian and is a great place to start. What’s more, all three main Thai varieties are on offer here. You can watch the many Durian vendors carefully peel and delicately prize the fleshy interior out from its spiky shell. This is a skill far harder than it first looks if the precious interior is to be presented in tact to eager eaters. If you can’t reach Or Tor Kot, then Bangkok’s China Town, Yaowarat, has a year round supply of delicious Durian. Pick from any one of the multitude of street vendors lining its busy main street.
Pick your variety
Durian comes in multiple varieties, but in Thailand 3 dominate: Kanyao, Chanee and Monthong. Monthong, meaning Golden Pillow, is by far the most common variety and is as delicious as its name suggests. Monthong is identifiable by its triangular spikes and has a sweet, rich taste coupled with a light and fluffy texture when ripe. The segments of fruit will usually have been carefully packaged in white styrofoam trays and wrapped in clingfilm. With huge variance in the size of the pieces, the choice of what size to go for is down to your preference. We suggest going for pieces that you can hold in one hand without having to break in two.
First impressions: make the most of your first bite!
The deseeded fruit is often far more pleasant on the nose than the aroma originating from the fruit when it’s whole. Ripe Durian may feel soft to the touch when you pick it up and its colour, often a soft yellow, is a good indication of its readiness to eat. Usually, the paler the fruit’s colour, the firmer the fruit. To enjoy Durian for the first time, pick a medium sized piece with a rich yellow colour. If the vendor allows, give it a gentle press with your finger. Resistance to touch may indicate an under ripe fruit whereas an indentation left in its flesh is ideal.
For your first bite, start at either end of the segment, and take a good mouthful as you would if biting a banana. There is a thin layer of skin on the outside, but awaiting you on the inside is the delicate custard flavoured flesh. Any number of flavour combinations may present themselves after the initial taste of custard creaminess. However, none of them ought to be unfamiliar or unpleasant to the foreign palate. Give it chance and we’re sure you’ll be back for more delicious Durian!
It is well known that in those countries known for Durian, it is prohibited to bring it in to public places or public transport. As a Durian novice you will likely be purchasing and enjoying the fruit at the place you buy it from. Stick to a ‘buying and consuming where you buy’ policy and you won’t fall foul of any local laws! You may want to bring some hand sanitiser with you, if only to remove the sticky residue that Durian can leave.
And there you have it! Delicious Durian will reward you if you give it the opportunity. What’s more, you will have a memory of Thailand to take home that will leave you craving another visit. Fancy getting deeper in to Durian culture? Why not join TakeMeTour to be led by our local experts around a Durian farm!