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Durian Fruit

I know nothing about this fruit... other than that I can't get it at my local grocery store, and that it is supposed to smell like rotting flesh and sewage. So of course my friend and I decided to try it.

Where do I buy this? in Chinatown? (is that why Chinatown smells like that...) And do I just cut it open and eat the inside of the fruit...?

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  1. Yes it's all over the place in Chinatown when it's in season (summer), especially at the exotic fruit stands on the west side of Spadina just north of Dundas. It does have a very strong smell, people react to it differently, to me it's no where near fish or sewage. I actually dislike the flavour not the smell, because to me it tastes like sweet fruit mixed with raw onion which I hate.

    Yeah you just open the hard spiky shell and eat the custardy meat inside, it's got big seeds.

    1. T&T's has them frozen (the Promenade location). We also were intrigued by the durian fruit. Bought one frozen from T&T, took it up to the cottage to share with my brothers family. I don't think we've laugh so hard in our lives! The smell was just awful and we couldn't run away from it fast enough. I think we all tried it but it was really tough getting to our mouths. Try it, I'm sure you won't like it but you' will have fun with the experiment.

      1. While it's not quite the same as the real thing, sometimes I suggest to my friends who've never had durian before to try a lighter version of it in the form of durian ice cream, bubble tea drink or the sausage shaped candy, just to get used to the flavour. If you like it, then you can go full out on the real thing. Mind you, the ice cream version won't have the same foul odor as you would the real fruit.

        To buy a whole durian is not cheap either, so perhaps experimenting on the frozen variety (thaw it out first, of course) might be more economical... just in case you end up tossing most of it into the organic waste bin anyways.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Royaljelly

          I agree with Royaljelly about trying a "lighter" version - in my case first exposure came through durian shakes at Vietnamese restaurants. Now that I'm used to the aftertaste of rotten meat and gasoline, I can eat the real thing. I do like to freeze some of the flesh and eat it like a sort of icecream/frozen custard affair.

        2. I dont really think the sausage candy versions or even the hard candies flavoured like durian taste anything like durian.

          i LOVE this fruit, and even though people say it stinks, i think it has a lovely smell and such a lovely smooth creamy texture.

          mind you, i've grown up eating this with my family.

          1. Ahhh... durian... apparently, you'll either love it or hate it.

            I suggest you try one of the durian shakes you can get at restaurants... usually I see them at Vietnamese restaurants. Some of them are bad... they'll be more icy because they just use so much crushed ice so you can't taste it so well. The good places will make a nice thick shake. I don't mind drinking durian shake, but I don't like eating durian, it's just toooooo much!!! I don't like it, but it smells and tastes nothing like rotting flesh and sewage, that's just waay overexaggerating.....

            When you buy it, you'll have to cut it lengthwise all around the fruit to open up the different compartments.... each compartment will have several sections of fruit and each section has its own seed. Good thing it's summer... I don't suggest you opening one up inside your house unless you want the whole house to smell like durian :D

            1. Thanks for all these suggestions, especially Teep. Looks like I will go buy this on the weekend. I am the sort of person who -- if I am going to do something -- am going to do it properly and go all out. No ice cream or frozen anything for me! I want the nastiest smelling fruit in chinatown and we are going to try it. Then-- perhaps I will never eat it again!! But at least I will know!! Maybe I can hide these fruits in all my friends' houses...

              4 Replies
              1. re: abscissa

                "Smells like hell, tastes like heaven!"

                1. re: koknia

                  My Lonely Planet SouthEast Asia (the 1990 version) describes it as: Looks Like Sh*t, Smells Like Sh*t and Tastes Like Sh*t. It decribes Durian Ice Cream as: Looks Like Ice Cream, Smells Like Sh*t and Tastes Like Sh*t.

                  As for me, I have vivid memories of offending some Malaysians at a road side stand somewhere outside of Kuala Lumpur when I exclaimed "for the Love of God" and not in a good way, as the vapours travelled from my mouth and up my nose and stayed there for hours. Further, it set off twelve hours of mild belching, each one bringing the taste back to my mouth. If I had to describe it, the taste IS reminiscent of what the Lonely Planet says, but very sweet with strong overtones of gasoline.

                  It's an acquired taste :)

                  1. re: bluedog

                    Sounds like the Lonely Planet. It's for unadventurous channeled backpackers who drink fruit smoothies, eat fried rice and watch VDOs in their guesthouses at night.
                    If you get a good durian it's incredible. When I lived in SEAsia I would always have a local friend pick one out for me. Once I bit into a very over ripe one and couldn't eat it for a year.
                    I have no time for the durian flavoured processed stuff, it's not even remotely related to the real thing.

                    1. re: koknia

                      At the time, I was travelling with a guy who'd lived in Malaysia for 4 years; we had the guy at the stand pick out a "good one", and were in the middle of nowhere, about as far from backpacker havens as one can get. I have to admit, there was a certain allure about the flavour, despite the recurring taste of gasoline, like a peach so overripe, it's just at the point of going bad: delicious but a bit noxious as well (though I'd lean more towards the noxious wrt the Durian).

                      And I'm gonna presume that your not taking a shot at me :) wrt the LP comments as I agree its become an industry. But way back when it was one of the few easy ways to find places we could afford, as well as avoid backpack ghettos. They drove us crazy. Anyhow, way off topic.

              2. Just like Sumashi said, either you'll love it or hate it.

                In S.E. Asia, it's called "King of Fruist". The smell is so strong that most hotels will have a sign somewhere that says 'No Durian.' Heehee. I think most cabs in KL/Singapore even have those signs.

                I feel okay towards durian. My hometown is known by it - street vendors selling it on sidewalk, with benches and huge container for you to throw the seeds away. My dad's family love it (it is somesort of traditional dishes from where he comes from) so much that they'd eat it with rice or cook it with some other ingredients. Ugh.

                It seems to be a hot ingredient right now over there - there are even durian rolls, durian dumplings in dimsum places! My husband was brave enough to try them.

                Story goes that to rinse off the strong smell from your hand, you have to scrub your fingers with lime/lemon. Nowadays though, some people would wear gloves to eat em. Kid you not! Some vendors even have gloves ready for customers. :D

                My dad usually put a piece of cloth under it while opening - just in case it rolls over.

                've fun!

                3 Replies
                1. re: ceciel

                  I like durian. I don't find the smell that bad at all, it's just *really* powerful. Like smell at 50 paces, knock-you-over kind of powerful.

                  But yeah, don't open it inside. The frozen ones are much less smelly and kind of nice in a semi-thawed state, like the texture of fudgesicles but a little fibrous.

                  On another note, I find that if I eat too much durian, my heart starts to race! Durian is a very 'yang' fruit... apparently one is supposed to eat it with mangosteen which is very 'yin'.

                  1. re: mogo

                    Ah, so that's why mangosteen is the Queen of fruits! it's actually my favourite fruit.

                    1. re: mogo

                      If you eat too much durian and feel too "hot", counteract with drinking salt water, same effect as eating Mangosteen.

                  2. Would anyone know where i can purchase a durian flavoured cake?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: togone

                      I have seen some baked goods with durian at the Cherry St. T & T and keep meaning to buy some. I can't remember if it was a durian cake (small, one serving size, individually wrapped) or a durian filled bun though...

                    2. Just wanted to add a bit more.... I actually don't enjoy the texture of the durian fruit, in addition to the smell and taste all too much......... I don't mind the shake though. This cake recipe might be useful in case the texture of the fruit doesn't really appeal to you when you try it:


                      It's getting good reviews and it just might taste good :)