Widely known in Southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the Durian fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres long and 20 centimetres in diameter, and it typically weighs one to four kilograms. Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.
The edible flesh emits a distinctive offensive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact but to many durian lovers, the soft flesh are tastefully pleasant. Some people regard the durian as fragrant while others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, Limburger cheese, gym socks and stinky smell. The odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia.
However, it is perhaps the most popular local fruit and if given choices on fruits, a Malaysian would take the durian first. Many people especially Europeans are hesitant at first to eat the fruit because of its odour, but once they do, they find it delicious and irresistible.
In Malaysia durian are cultivated in orchards like farms in Pahang, Johore, Perak and Penang. Most of the peninsular states are suitable for durian cultivation especially around the hilly areas of Pahang, Perak and Johore.
While durian fruit is not native to Thailand, the country has become the largest exporter of the fruit. It was introduced to Thailand during the 18th century. There are many different durian species in Thailand. Prices range from 100 Baht up to 2000 Baht. The “Mon Thong” species commands a higher price with bigger sized flesh and small pits. Species “Kadum”, “Chanee”, “Kan Yao” have bigger pits and less flesh.
The durian fruit, is rich in energy, minerals and vitamins.The fruit is made of soft, easily digestible flesh with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose and some amount of simple fats when eaten replenished energy and revitalize the body instantly. Although it contains a relatively high amount of fats among fruits, but it is free from cholesterol. It is also a good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (about 33% of RDA). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
While there are many durian lovers who would be willing to pay more just to have the satisfaction of tasting the best flavoured durian in their life time, still there are people who would rather be at a distance away from the smell of it. It is just a matter of preference. Each individual taste buds and sense of smell trigger different messages to their brains. Thus, not everybody likes what you like. Some even hesitate their first try in tasting a durian but many find it irresistible and enjoyable. So, durians anyone? Just like blogging and having your own website, you will never know unless you try.
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