17 Oct2006


by Marketman


If you asked me a few years ago if I wanted to voluntarily munch on a large chunk of mushy pulp from a hard-skinned and seriously pungent fruit, I would probably have said no, thank you. Particularly if you had said durian, since I HAVE in fact tried it twice before and don’t recall it with any fondness whatsoever and have avoided it since. durian2But for this blog and its readers, I have tried to go a bit out of my comfort zone and figured I should try durian yet again. So when someone in my Cebu office yesterday said there was a lot of durian in the markets, I immediately sent someone out to get some. The 2.2 kilo fruit in the less than flattering photo above arrived and began to smell up the office. Splitting open the near Jurassic-like skin was apparently a skill all its own…it seems the skin has natural “cracks” or fissures which make opening the fruit much easier. Once open, the pungent aroma quickly filled the room we were in and I reached in and took a massive piece from the near center of the fruit…

The first taste of this durian was shockingly bad. I actually nearly threw up and had to concentrate to get over the gag reflex. The flavor on the tongue was sort of akin to rotting organic matter of some kind. I don’t mean to offend durian lovers, of which there are many, I’m sure, but the initial taste hit was rather distasteful…really. My colleagues kept egging me on to eat more and more as the pleasure was supposedly going to come after the pain or yuck factor up front. So I did. But I just couldn’t get over the texture and the flavor, while less obnoxious in the subsequent mouthfuls, did not endear itself to me. Frankly, it had the mouth feel of Elmer’s glue that had been out of the bottle for a few minutes and was starting to harden up combined with a mushy pulp of some sort. No, this is not one fruit that will zoom up to my Top 20 list! I suppose one just has to eat it enough to go from revulsion to conversion. I think of it as the legions of folks who don’t like hot chilli but I personally love them… so to each their own on Durian but I think I’ll pass on it again for now.



  1. fried-neurons says:

    yuck yuck yuck yuck

    I have never tasted durian, because I can’t get past the smell.

    I even hate durian candy. :)

    Oct 17, 2006 | 12:18 pm


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    You had an unpleasant taste of endearment of the durian. I would say durian is an acquired-taste. Plenty out there are durian lovers. I for one could not handle the durian in any form or substance. It has something to do with our taste buds.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 12:40 pm

  4. shaui says:

    The pictures send subliminal craving pangs. I don’t know why I have this natural tendecy to salivate everytime I see and smell a durian fruit. I’ve loved durian since my pre-school days, really. Maybe having folks in Davao and Cotabato helped in making me appreciate this smelly but delicious fruit :)

    I’ll wait for the day, though, that you become a convert, hehehe.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 1:45 pm

  5. trishlovesbread says:

    I don’t only LOVE durian, I’m addicted to the stuff. Have you tried durian-flavored coffee?Match made in heaven…or hell, depending on your taste buds, I guess.

    This would be interesting poll material: Durian…love it or hate it? :-)

    Oct 17, 2006 | 1:46 pm

  6. bettina says:

    I just ate this a few minutes ago!! So good!! I am a convert too, I wouldnt even taste the thing back then but now Im hooked! MM, may I suggest when you try it again to try it frozen? Just a bit thawed. It did the trick for me on the texture factor. I promise, you’ll like it!

    Oct 17, 2006 | 2:42 pm

  7. Berry says:

    Love it, miss it. :-(

    Oct 17, 2006 | 2:49 pm

  8. Hershey says:

    Spare me but I have loathed this fruit like many. My neighbors here in SG who live in the next flat feasted on durian everyday (for 2 months during the durian season earlier this year) that the stench would penetrate even in our bedroom. The first time I tried it– it was appalling. The second time was even worse. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.. Anyhow, I like the similar looking fruit Marang.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 3:59 pm

  9. lee says:

    perfect fruit to bring inside a full packed movie theatre if you have a death wish.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 4:11 pm

  10. Arvie says:

    Grew up with my mom loving this fruit, tried it several times over the years and didn’t like it. Don’t know what happened, one day in my twenties, I tried it again and was converted.

    Durian coffee at Blu Gre cafe in davao. Yummy. Still can’t stand the smell, never will I guess, but it is an acquired taste.

    Kudos to you for trying it though. =)

    Oct 17, 2006 | 4:16 pm

  11. miriam says:

    I used to hate durian! When I first tasted i thought I was eating nilagang baka na nag sebo! Fortunately though, during my first trip to Davao earlier this year, I learned to love it! I ate durian crepes, durian candy, drank durian coffee, and a durian shake!

    Oct 17, 2006 | 4:21 pm

  12. Bob says:

    I enjoy durian! I am a foreigner, living in Davao, and it seems that most foreigners don’t care to try the stuff. I actually enjoy the fragrance of durian, now that I’ve eaten some. As a matter of fact, I just had some durian a couple of hours ago!

    Oct 17, 2006 | 5:18 pm

  13. Jaja says:

    Durian! Yummy!!!!! Durian shake, durian roll, durian candy, durian yema, durian pie, durian coffee, durian ice cream!

    Growning up loving this fruit, it has become a luxury for me since moving here in Manila. It’s outrageously expensive here unlike in Davao where you can buy it for as low as P25-P30 a kilo especially when it is in season.

    Other varieties have been developed to make it creamier or sweeter or more fleshy. I shall eat some tonight as we still have a tupperware-full of this fruit in the freezer imported from Davao.

    For first time eaters, it’s either you love it or hate it. I hope you give it one more chance MM=)

    Oct 17, 2006 | 5:30 pm

  14. kaye says:

    this i would eat or try if i would be chosen to join fear factor… i try to avoid going to the fruit section of big groceries coz they always have a supply fo durian.. sorry for the durian lovers but i feel like it sticks to the nostrils..

    Oct 17, 2006 | 5:47 pm

  15. ThePseudoshrink says:

    Durian smells like a rotting onion! Would prefer marang instead.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 6:22 pm

  16. fabian says:

    i was converted. used to not like it, and now i do.

    your durian tastes like elmer glue? i think you’re eating some crap! it shouldn’t have that consistency, or if ever just some residue portion to the chan-e (sp?) variety.

    actually eating it frozen is like eating frozen ice cream. mmmmm :)

    the stink: well, it really smells weird. can’t blame people. but after u like the taste…pavlovian style you’ll associate the smell with goodness.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 6:39 pm

  17. Rina says:

    When I was reading your blog, I was laughing because I had the same reaction as you did when I first tasted durian. I would not even dare to try it again!

    Oct 17, 2006 | 6:50 pm

  18. Doddie from Korea says:

    Durian should be eaten when it is at its stinkiest or for durian lovers like me, at its fragrant apex. I grew up eating durian because of my father who travelled a lot around the Philippines. You name the city, he’s been there. He was an auditor for Unilab and he would always bring back crates of durian from Mindanao if he had a stint there. He knew how to package it so that it would not stink up the plane.

    Anyway, eating durian at its best can be best described as eating custard cream. For non-durian eaters (aka haters too), the smell of ripe durian is like rotting fruit/meat. For us durianaholics, it smells like heaven.

    There is a secret to get rid of the durian smell from your hands and mouth. Take an empty durian shell and fill will drinking water. Swish it up a little with your fingers so that the water gets a little murky, use this mixture to gargle. After that, turn the shell over and use another compartment to fill up with water. Mix it up a little with your fingers and liberally wash your hand with the mixture. Now soap up your hands and mouth and rinse – eureka! No durian smell. Try it… it works!

    Oct 17, 2006 | 7:35 pm

  19. Rowi says:

    The first time I tried Durian was in Singapore many years ago. I nearly gagged at the smell but gave it a try anyway. I can’t remember my reaction because I was laughing mad at my husband’s reaction when he popped a pulp (he’s a foreigner) as he didn’t want to make a fuss of it. His eyes nearly popped out at the explosion of tastes and texture in his mouth. Since then, we never tried the stuff.

    A few years ago, in Bangkok, I became curious at the durian being sold by ambulant vendors. The smell wasn’t pervasive and I just decided there and then to buy a small piece. My husband was still not convinced. I was surprised that I didn’t gag at the smell and even more, that I LIKED the fruit!!! Can’t explain the change of tastes…

    Have also tried Durian fritters at the Marco Polo in Davao, the year hotel opened. It was delicious!!! In Bangkok again, I got to taste Durian ice cream made by a private dairy farm it was heavenly good.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 7:37 pm

  20. ShoppaHolique says:

    durian is like eat vanilla with raw garlic, it is an acquired taste hahaha

    Oct 17, 2006 | 8:50 pm

  21. MRJP says:

    Like you, MM, I probably wouldn’t like durian, ever! I tried the fruit like two or three times because I thought, maybe I will discover its magic if I’d get used to the taste. But each time I try, it brought me to tears, literally…. I know, it’s weird of me, my friends were laughing, they know me to literally shed tears when eating something I really really dont like even if I try not to cry. They can see it written all over my face even if I try to be polite in the presence of the person who offered me the food. I can’t hide it.
    I used to eat durian candy before trying the real fruit, and I was able to take Durian candy then, maybe one or two. But since I tried the real fruit, the first time the candy touches my tongue, I feel the urge to throw up, my apologies to the durian lovers out there, maybe it’s just me. But I like jackfruit though.

    Oct 17, 2006 | 10:13 pm

  22. chrissy says:

    Only after years of eating durian did I realize that they stunk (to non-eaters). Just like those humpy dumpy corn chips that were so addicting. But I digress, anyway…
    I hated durian candy cause it tasted fake (too sweet, very little durian flavor), thank God for regular vacations in Davao (and finally moving back there for a couple of years).
    Now back in Manila, I have to contend myself with fresh durian candy and the real thing whenever someone comes over from Davao. Best eaten with flatmates & workmates who appreciate the stink! hehehe Best self-induced headache!

    Oct 17, 2006 | 10:22 pm

  23. benchorizo says:

    I tried the frozen ones bought from Oriental stores here but I couldn’t stand it. I like the durian candy, though. I remembered a show from the Travel Channel called “Bizarre Foods: Asia.” The host was chef Andrew Zimmern and he went all over Asia and even had frog sashimi in Japan and ate the frog’s heart while it was still beating. He went around and tried a lot of “delicacies” from Asia ( I think he even tried balut) but the one thing that he couldn’t take was, you guessed it, the DURIAN. It made him puke. He said it tasted like rotten onions.

    This is his link:


    Oct 18, 2006 | 2:48 am

  24. millet says:

    in our pastry shop here in davao, we have durian cheesecake, durian san rival,and durian brazo de mercedes. it’s the peak of durian season here now, and my two native durian trees in my backyard have so far yielded a total of about fifty fruit. true-blue davaoenos like the indigenous varieties that taste somewhat bittersweet (“pait-pait”). none of the wimpy thai hybrids with less thorns, less smell and less flavor. magnolia and selecta have excellent durian ice cream available in mindanao only, i think. all over the city, though, there are durian-flavored polvoron, ice pops, ice candy, bibingka, puto, etc.

    Oct 18, 2006 | 5:44 am

  25. MRJP says:

    benchorizo, I saw that Andrew Zimmern show on Travel Channel, it was yuck yuck yuck when he ate the raw frog’s heart! And to top it all, the frog’s head is included in the soup!!! MAJOR EEEEWWWW!!!! He also ate some turtles in Japan. He even ate fried bats!!!! super yuck!!! But when it comes to durian, he couldn’t swallow a bit of it, hahahhaha!!!

    Oct 18, 2006 | 6:29 am

  26. Dena says:

    For the people that tried durian once or twice and couldn’t stand it, but then tried it years later and loved it, I think it’s a change in taste-buds. I and quite a few friends of mine have noticed that our tastes have changed radically as we’ve gotten older. When I was younger I didn’t like rambutan at ALL, but when I was back visiting last year, I discovered that I loved it. :) I probably shouldn’t have tried it, because I can’t get it in the US and now I want to! *sigh* The same thing happened with asparagus, broccoli, and several other things, so I guess it’s not uncommon for some people!

    Oct 18, 2006 | 6:43 am

  27. gonzo says:

    now i pride myself in being able to eat virtually anything that other human beings also eat. Food is culture, so i like to try what others are eating, especially abroad, as this gives you some insight into their societies. But i have never understood the passion some people have for durian. I suppose you have to grow up with it.

    I’ve tried to like it, but honestly, i’m not into ingesting turpentine in its natural form.

    Oh and the photo is lovely – looks like raw calf’s brain inserted into a scooped out pineapple half.

    Oct 18, 2006 | 7:25 am

  28. Gigi says:

    Nah. It doesn’t work moi.

    Oct 18, 2006 | 7:38 am

  29. cupcakediva says:

    I haven’t tasted Durian but I looove the scent of it. Everybody thinks I’m weird but everytime there’s a Durian in the supermarket, I’d stand nearby it and just savor its fragrance till I’m satisfied! =)

    Oct 18, 2006 | 9:08 am

  30. Doddie from Korea says:

    I’m like cupcakediva, I would stand around durian fruit in the supermarket and back in the fragrance. Durian is said to be a potent aphrodisiac as the saying in Thailand goes “When the durian (fruit) goes down, the men’s sarongs go up”. LOL

    Oct 18, 2006 | 10:07 am

  31. honey says:

    maybe it depends on the variety of durian. I have eaten some durian. arancillo variety thyink and i didn’t like it. it had bitter undertones. i like the puyat variety because it tastes likes butter with hints of capuccino

    Oct 18, 2006 | 10:51 am

  32. Tish says:

    I became a Durian convert after staying in Davao a couple of years back. Yummy. Its like creamy custard like one of the posts says here. The first time I tried it I got some sort of buzz similiar to when you’ve had alcohol.

    I absolutely looove the durian cappucino in Blu Gre Cafe in Davao.

    Oct 18, 2006 | 11:29 am

  33. corrine says:

    My hubby says that once you try durian, you’ll love it. But thank you very much, I haven’t mustered the courage. Millet, that’s interesting stuff you have in Davao..durian sans rival and durian brazo de mercedes. Both desserts my hubby loves but never heard about durian stuff in them until now. I cringe!

    Oct 18, 2006 | 1:31 pm

  34. skymermaid says:

    maybe the durian you bought was not good? the native variety tastes better. the imports and hybrids are fleshy but have less taste. durians from jolo are especially good. and they eat durian there a lot. they even make soup with it!

    Oct 18, 2006 | 1:58 pm

  35. Mary says:

    So how do you plan on getting rid of the smell in the office. When I lived in Malaysia, durian was banned from all the offices in which I worked because of the lingering smell. When in season, they had durian parties, more like durian orgies. Not my thing.

    Oct 18, 2006 | 2:14 pm

  36. oggi says:

    Davaoenos are durian loving people. I spent part of my honeymoon in Davao in the late 70s. We were exploring the city when we saw a huge durian fountain, water coming out of its spikes. The hubby pointed to the fruit that made him barf on the first bite, he said it tasted of gasoline. We had photos taken in front of it which I recently viewed and reminisced. I wonder if the fountain still exists or if our host Mr. Roman(?) Solitaria still resides there.
    And just like the others I am not so fond of the fruit but LOVE the smell, weird. I often buy Thai ice pops which I really like.

    Oct 18, 2006 | 11:27 pm

  37. edel says:

    i’m not fond of durian fruit either but i can eat it naman. but i’d like to recommend mr. marketman to try the durian balls made by anobei of gsis village in matina, davao city. i got to taste this yummy treats given by a friend about 2 weeks ago. very yummy and rivals the bulacan pastillas :)

    Oct 19, 2006 | 9:25 am

  38. Larees says:

    I hate as much as you do MM. And my mom loves it so much! So I go out of the house when she eats durian. Heehee!

    Oct 20, 2006 | 5:00 am

  39. Adelle says:

    love it! love it! there’s a durian candy from Davao that i tasted. it really has durian pulp in it.

    Nov 5, 2006 | 3:18 am

  40. Pia Faustino says:

    Hi! Durian actually tastes MUCH better when freezer-cold, as opposed to tropical-room temperature. You can scoop of the fruit out, put it in a tupperware, and pop it in refrigerator. It stiffens up the stuff and makes it less smelly.

    Nov 11, 2006 | 11:40 am

  41. Joy says:

    haha its fun to read everyone’s reactions to durian. when i was a wee kid i used to like the fruit but now that im older and i think from the age of 15 i started to just loathe the fruit until now too. y is that i wonder? is it the difference in taste buds or? i mean why do some like it and some hate it? i find that the bangkok durians are more meaty and fragrant compared to the durians that i find here in Jakarta or the Indonesian kind which are less meaty and firm and less fragrant too.

    hehe thanks MM!

    Mar 1, 2007 | 9:03 pm

  42. palengkera says:

    Start eating durian ice cream that’s how I got over the “yucky” phase..

    Sep 28, 2007 | 4:05 pm

  43. Lady Madonna says:

    I too do not particularly like durian – I can’t stand the smell of it. Imagine even Bizzarre foods co-host Andrew Zimmerman could not stand this and he has eaten more icky things in his lifespan. Great Blog MM!

    Jan 16, 2008 | 11:16 pm


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