The Durian: 5 Unusual Facts About This Exotic Fruit

Tropical fruit very appreciated in Southeast Asia, the durian is also a very divisive food. Some people love it and revere it as the king of fruits, but others hate it because of its taste and especially its smell! Here are 5 unusual facts about this exotic fruit that leaves no one indifferent.

1- In Asia, this fruit is revered as much as hated

Durians are the fruit of a large tree of the Bombacaceae family that can reach 40 m in height. Nevertheless, the size of the tree and the fruit is not the most remarkable fact about it.

The first of the 5 unusual facts about the durian, is that in Southeast Asia, this funny fruit covered with thorns is dreamed of as 'the king of fruits'. In fact, its cultivation is only practiced in this region of the world. The main exporting country is Thailand, but even there it is not unanimously approved!

If some people love its particular taste, others are put off by its uninviting smell... For my part, when I tasted this fruit so emblematic of Southeast Asia, I was not disgusted by its smell, but I found its texture and taste rather strange.

The rather fatty texture reminded me of foie gras while the taste reminded me of a mixture of sweet fruit and mushroom, with an umami note ... You will have understood, the discovery of this fruit is an unforgettable experience but difficult to describe!

2- Fans are willing to pay dearly

From the outside, the durian is not very attractive because it smells bad and looks like the egg of an alien creature. It comes in the form of a large green fruit, spherical or elongated, but always covered with 1 cm long spines.

Durians can weigh between 1.5 and 4 kg, but only the inside of the fruit (the aril) is eaten. This soft, fleshy part is white to yellowish in color depending on the variety. It is the one that attracts all the covetousness because it is sweet and creamy when the fruit is well ripe.

On this point, the tastes of the Asians diverge because the Thais like to eat this fruit rather firm (when it is not yet too ripe nor odorous), whereas the Malaysians and the Indonesians prefer it at full maturity (when its flesh is softer and its odor unfortunately more pronounced!)

In specialty restaurants in Southeast Asia, this very special fruit is relatively expensive compared to other exotic fruits. Unusually about durian, shopkeepers distinguish between several more and less prized varieties and the price goes up to a crescendo. You have to be prepared to pay a certain amount of money to taste the best specimens!

3- It is forbidden in public transport

The third of the 5 unusual facts about durian is that this fruit is banned from public transportation. In Malaysia, for example, you can see signs prohibiting it on the subway with this fruit crossed out!

Do we need to point this out? If durians are banned in public places and public transport, it is not because of their spines but because of their pestilential smell ...

This strong and pungent smell is reminiscent of onions, due to the sulfur compounds that the fruit contains.

4- Scientists have unlocked the secrets of its stench

In 2017, Singaporean scientists made headlines when they announced they had unlocked the secrets of durian smell.

After studying the genome of this fruit, they identified the genes that cause its stench. It is because of several of its genes that this fruit produces in excess a volatile sulfurous chemical compound that reminds us of turpentine, onions and the smell of a garbage can!

Nature being well made, this nauseating scent is not without utility: it serves to attract animals so that they consume the fruit and disperse its seeds.

This research will perhaps one day allow the creation of new varieties of durians with a softer smell...

5- It has medicinal and aphrodisiac virtues

In Southeast Asia, people love to eat durians fresh when it is in season, but also in the form of cakes and ice cream.

The last of the 5 unusual facts about durian is that parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine to treat humans and animals.

Asians consider it a miracle cure for headaches and sleep disorders. It must be said that in Asia this fruit has a very special cultural status and is sometimes the subject of a form of worship.

More surprisingly, it is said that this particular fruit has aphrodisiac virtues ... but this last point has not yet been proven by science!

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Suba
Tags: fruit, durian, smell, taste, Southeast Asia, LOVE, durians, genes, spines, Asians, texture, onions, Aphrodisiac, public transport, tree, Asia, varieties, sulfur, Singaporean, genome, Subway, pungent smell, volatile, sleep disorders, traditional medicine, plant, Ice cream, seeds, utility, scent, Nature, Turpentine, chemical compound, spherical, crescendo, price, mushroom, foie gras, Thailand, région, family, Bombacaceae, leaves, Revere, umami, egg, alien, Exotic Fruits, odor, flesh,
In French: Le durian : 5 faits insolites sur ce fruit exotique
En español: Durián: 5 curiosidades sobre esta fruta exótica
In italiano: Durian: 5 curiosità su questo frutto esotico
Auf Deutsch: Durian: 5 ungewöhnliche Fakten über diese exotische Frucht
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