How to Eat Durian, AKA Stink Fruit

Categories: Food News
All photos by Nicole Danna
Durian fruit
If you've ever walked into your local Asian grocer and gasped for air, just wait until you get up close to a durian. Also known as "stink fruit," this exotic import can have an odor so offensive it's actually banned from most public places in Southeast-Asia, including hospitals, buses, trains and hotels.

See also:
- A Fruit so Stinky, It's Illegal

Even so, Clean Plate Charlie was intrigued enough to sample some fresh, cut straight from the spiked seed pod that resembles a giant pinecone on steroids. Eating it wasn't the hard part -- finding one was.

A seasonal fruit, durian are most readily available in the summer. We found ours at New Oriental Market in West Palm Beach where they have been selling last season's fruit for the past several months. Many purveyors will freeze the late harvest, the store owner tells us, and will thaw them before putting them out for sale. If you can't find the whole fruit, don't worry. It's likely many will carry frozen durian meat out of the pod, which is guaranteed to be just as stinky.

What Is Durian?
Known across southeast Asia as the "king of fruits," the durian tree produces a massive fruit native to Indonesia and Maylaysia, where it's harvested from late June through August. The fruit can grow up to 12 inches long, and six inches in diameter, with some weighing up to seven pounds. This durian cost 75 cents per pound, and sold for $13. Any you find stateside are most likely from Thailand, which has become a major exporter of the fruit in recent years. Durian are a great source of vitamins and minerals; it offers the entire B-complex, is rich in dietary fiber, and high in vitamin C, potassium, essential amino acids, copper, iron and magnesium.

How to Prepare Durian Fruit
The first step to eating a durian is to open its brownish-colored, thorn-covered husk. To crack the pod, look for a natural soft spot on the husk, take a knife, and make a small incision. You'll be surprised how soft the husk can get -- a gentle tug will pull it open. If it's not ripe enough, this method won't work, and you'll have to cut the husk open.

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Dear Clean Plate Charlie,

I was happy to see that someone else in my country was enjoying durian, but dismayed to see your how-to!  Next time you write a how-to, please do a little more research! In fact, you opened your durian in a very silly way, one that would rarely work on a durian not pre-softened by the freezing process. Asians would laugh at you.

 Please see my site, dedicated to my yearlong research project on durian in Southeast Asia, to see the best way to open a durian:

Glad you enjoyed the experience



PS. Commercial durian is never red. :P

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