You’ve probably heard about durian – aka the ‘world’s smelliest fruit’ before, but did you know it smells so bad that it’s banned on public buses and planes across Asia? It might stink to high heavens, but it’s also a delicacy in many countries and is a super popular snack in South East Asia.
Here’s the lowdown on this stinky fruit that’s loved – and hated! – by so many…
What to Know About The World’s Smelliest Fruit
1. What is Durian Fruit?
Durian fruit is a large fruit with custard-like flesh and a hard, spiky shell. It’s huge – durian can grow up to 1 foot long and 6 inches wide. It’s famous for its strong smell, which food writer Richard Sterling has described as: “its odour is best described as…turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away.”
2. Where Can You Find It?
Durian – aka the ‘King of Fruits’ grows in lots of tropical regions around the world, mainly in the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Thailand has most of the world’s durian farms.
3. What Does Durian Smell Like?
It all depends whether you smell savoury or sweet scents stronger, but it’s basically a mix of sulfur, sewage, fruit, honey, and roasted and rotting onions.
Anthony Bourdain, who was a big fan of this smelly fruit, says that after eating it: ‘Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother’.
4. What Does Durian Taste Like?
Writing in 1856, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace says:
“Its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes.”
The flesh is sort of creamy and it certainly doesn’t taste as bad as it smells.
5. How To Eat Durian:
If you’re a durian newbie, we suggest you try the fruit mixed into a smoothie, ice cream or savoury dishes. Want to just jump right in there? Hack into the spiky shell to slice in half and you’ll be able to tear pieces of the fruit off easily. Both the flesh and the seeds are edible.
You’ll also find pre-sliced durian in lots of supermarkets and street stalls across Asia.
6. Durian is Banned on Public Transport in Asia!
It may be a delicacy here, but durian smells so strong that it’s banned on buses, trains, planes and most public spaces across Asia. Hotels have signs saying ‘no durians’ and even taxis won’t allow you in their car if you have the stinky fruit with you.
7. But it’s Really, Really Good For You
In fact, this king of fruits is somewhat of a superfruit. It’s full of antioxidants and is a nutritious fruit that’s rich in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, and other healthy plant compounds.