The fruit called durian ("THURIEN" - ทุเรียน) is famous for its smell when it is ripe. Durians are often forbidden in public places such as Thai hotels. This is due to the strong smell of the durian, which persists even if the fruit has been moved to an other place. One thing is sure, nobody can steal a durian. Due to the smell it is impossible to hide it!

There are many different durian species. Prices range from 100 Baht up to 2000 Baht. Those high prices are reserved to durian ( species "MON THONG" ), which are big and contain abound flesh and small pits. Species "KADUM", "CHANEE", "KAN YAO" have bigger pits and less flesh.

A durian is heavy and with its torns it can be dangerous if it falls on the feet.

Opening a durian is a difficult task. A big butcher knife has to be used to open it. The top of the fruits is cut by making big slices and it is necessary to pull the hard and stick peel to open the durian. Inside the big slices there is also flesh. Beware for people making a regime, durian is said to be a fruit that makes people fatter.

In Thailand there are 133 species of durian in Thailand. It is said that the 1942 flood has destroyed many durian orchards. After most producers did only plant easy growing durians, which could be sold easily. Generally, the lifespan of a durian tree is about 150 to 180 years. At hot season a tree can have up to 50 fruits.

The best Asian durians are said to be found in Thailand. Season in Thailand is during all the year depending on species. In all Asia durian is said to be the king of the fruits. Asian people are really fond of it. Even in Paris where exotic fruits are very expensive, when season begins, Asian people nudge themselves with their elbows to get the best durians.

There is a real love between Asian people and durian but there is a real hatred between westerner people and durian. Some really dislike it even if they never try it because the smell is a strong barrier.

For example, durian can be eaten fresh, in durian ice-cream or with sticky rice. Also durian can be found inside cakes, mooncakes, sweets and so on... Even durian-flavoured condom can be bought.

For the first time in the mouth, people have got a strange feeling of something similar to old butter. After eating there is still a strong durian breath in the mouth. Anyway It is worth trying!
Small durian

In year 1999 there were problems about durian in Thailand. Some producers in order to take big parts into durian market sold them before they were ripe and big enough. Some quantities went back to Thailand because of unsatisfied Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong customers. This caused the price per kilo to fall. So the practice of some producers had bad effects on all. Even some producers added a yellow dye to make their fruit look ripe. Government is thinking about a label of quality for durians and actions will be taken over bad producers.

In Nakhon Nayok province, there is an orchard called the "LA-ONG FAH" orchard. It does contain 700 durian trees. The owner is Chatri Sowantrakul and it took more than 30 years to obtain a such orchard. Now it also serves as a botanical garden where about 50 rare species of durian are well preserved. This orchard has a wide variety of strange-looking durians; some are oval, others are round and flat. Several have long stems. Some has the colour of the meat comes in various shades-white, light yellow, dark yellow, and even gold. Their names are unfamiliar : kob ratsamee, toranee hwai, chai maa fai, jok loi, thong, yoi chat, nom sod and khun non.

rare durian species
Old varieties of durian rarely seen in fruit markets

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