Durian in Bangkok
- hyacinthgirl Dec 14, 2010 07:31 AM
In January, I'm travelling to Bangkok, which will be my first ever trip to SE Asia.
Having heard so much about it, I'm very excited (and nervous and wary and fascinated...) to try durian. However, from what I've read, you can't take it on any public transportation, you can't take it in most hotels....
So, my question is, HOW do I try it?
Do I just need to find a market, buy it and eat it right there? And if so, is it carried in most markets or only specialty places?
Does anyone cook with durian? Are there any restaurants in which I could try it?
Help, help, help!
And thank you!
Although it is quite early for the season, I have seen some durian about. At this point in time, it doesn't seen as potent as when it's in full season.
I doubt any restaurants will offer it, since it's not in season. But, if you make a trip to Aw Taw Kaw, or visit other wet markets, you may find some to sample.
If you go to any food court, there will be stands that sell precut fruit such as durian, pineapple, etc. Also there are street vendors that will sell already cut/deseeded fruit, sometimes in a bag, other times on skewers. Street vendors are all over central Bangkok. Many upscale hotel breakfast will have bowls of fresh cut fruit in their buffet.
Lots of the larger department stores, like Central, have food stores usually in the basement. Most of these will have sections of durian that have been cut out of the fruit and cleaned and placed on plastic trays and wrapped in plastic. It might be smartest to take it outside and find a pubic bench when you are ready to try it. A caution: never, never, never consume any alcoholic beverage prior to or for a few hours after eating durian. You can get sick or lose orientation and feel like you're on a narcotic high.
I've heard that story about durian and alcohol, but not before I had durian with beer or vodka, shortly before or after, 100's of times to no ill effect. So it hasn't stopped me from continuing the practice.
I'm in Chiang Mai so I can't help you with Bangkok, but you can get durian ice cream, durian chips, and durian with sticky rice for dessert when in season. The first of the season have started to appear in the markets in the last few days.
If you come across durians in an outdoor market stall, tell the vendor open one right there & then for you to consume. BTW, Thai durians tend to "smell" less than Malaysian, Indonesian or even Vietnamese ones.
A durian's smell is "worse" than its taste, which, to me, is totally irresistible!! In fact, I can resist any kind of food, except the durian!
Like other fruits, Durian comes in a number of varieties. The three most commonly seen varieties in Bangkok are Mon Thong (หมอนทอง) which means 'Golden Pillow,' Chanii (ชะนี) which means 'Gibbon' and Kan Yaaw (ก้านยาว) which means 'Long Stem.' So if you find one that you particularly like ask the vendor which variety is is so you can look for it again later.
....and if it's too much for you the first time, try it again. If you have it in a dessert or ice cream, that is a good way to get a first taste. You will be craving the full-on experience in no time!