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Durian Fruit, where to get it and is a seasonal thing or what?

  • k

where? and also is the smell of it really that horrible and pungent? thanks.

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  1. any 99 ranch--usually carry it both fresh and frozen. Frozen is cheaper [they just freeze the entire fruit] but fresh is supposed to be better. If you go there, you can get one of the stock people to help pick out a nice one for you. Caution that it is a pretty big fruit [think watermelon] so buying one means you are buying a lot. Plan on eatting a lot of durian or maybe invite friends to try it with you.

    yes, its really that pungent but I think I've smelled a lot of things that are worse. Whether you like it or not is going to be a personal thing. My husband loves durian but I can take it or leave it. It reminds me a lot of roasted garlic with overtones of sweat socks . . . dirty sweat socks.

    1. Kevin, we saw it fresh just last week at a Korean Market (Assi Market at 3525 West 8th Street); we also see them frequently when we go to the Asian Markets on Valley Boulevard. They are in the produce section, usually in very large cardboard boxes, and yes, you will smell them when you enter the store!

      We have been advised not to transport them in our car...

      1. I saw it packed up VERY TIGHTLY and safely at Whole Foods in West L.A.

        --Dommy!

        1. All the "fresh" durian you see at Asian supermarkets were frozen prior to shipping and dethawing. There is no way they can ship fresh durian from overseas, because they expire far too quickly. At 99 Ranch, they have frozen durian in the freezer section, and then they dethaw some of them and put those in the produce section.

          As for the odor, people unfamiliar with durian complain about the durian smell. I personally don't think it smells THAT bad--certainly not like garbage, which I think is an exaggerated description. It does have a rather pungent smell that for people who are not used to it, may be quite overwhelming.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pamela

            This is not 100% true. I've seen commercial shipments of durian shipped by air which is a pretty fast process. Of course anything that expires quickly is going to be frozen if shipped by sea.

            Hawaii Supermarket (120 E. Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA) often times has a ton of these fresh.

            1. re: BobMack

              I've never been to Hawaii Supermarket, so I'm going to have to check it out. It's good to know there actually might be fresh durian out there.

              However, I am still skeptical. The "fresh" durian that are actually frozen then dethawed that I saw are at 99 Ranch and at this Vietnamese/Chinese grocery store on Bolsa Ave in Westminster. The reason I know this is because I talked to one of the produce folks there. Also, there are places in Hawaii that actually grows durian, if you can believe that. Well, I contacted one of these places, and they would not ship durian from Hawaii to New England. They said the price of shipping is far too expensive, plus they suspected the fruit would rot by the time they reached the destination.

              As I understand it, we're (meaning common folks such as us) are not supposed to bring ANY fruits from overseas. However, if they ship fruit from overseas--or anywhere that is not mainland U.S. (i.e., Hawaii)--everything has to be inspected and go through U.S. customs. I'm not sure how fast that process is. (I recently ordered papayas from Hawaii and shipped it to New England, and that order had to go through U.S. customs first. Also, because it has to go through customs, they wouldn't allow a gift message for the recipient.)

              Thanks for the tip on Hawaii Supermarket, though. One of these days, I'm going to go check it out!

          2. Oh, as for the seasonal factor, I think Durian season is late autumn to winter--Oct to December--or something like that.

            1. Yes, it really DOES smell strongly, but the fruit is creamy and tastes a little like an acidic pineapple. And be aware that it is very high in calories. Something like 355 per cup, per Calorie Counter Database (www.calorie-count.com/)

              1. Santa Monica Co-Opportunity on Pico carries them in a special fridge in the fruit section. The fridge seals them off well, but the fruit themselves are just in perforated plastic berry containers so once you bring it out it's going to stink up the whole place! Get it last, double bag it, and head out before the other customers get angry! Very expensive, about $15 for three or four large chunks, but probably the best tasting fresh durian I've had in the states. The only time I've had better is the rare occassions when 99 Ranch had really fresh ones (probably over 7 years ago).

                1. santa monica co op here i come.

                  1. pei,

                    isn't the co-op on broadway or colorado instead of pico?

                    1. I just saw them at 99Ranch City of Industry for 3.99/lb for fresh durian. It smelled wonderful but I'm rather cheap. I opted for the frozen durian on sale for $0.98/lb. It's still thawing in my refrigerator. I can't wait until tomorrow.