In Thai, durian is called Tu Rian. And because it is a delicacy, durian prices are often high – but locals are well aware that it is worth spending for.
During the durian season, typically May through August, you will certainly notice the fruit in the markets of Thailand – mainly due to the highly noticeable smell. Many describe the odor as a cross between something rotting or dirty laundry. Some people go even further to describe the smell. But to Thais, and many other people in the region where durian is consumed, the smell denotes the fact that durian is back in season and ready to be worshiped as the king of all fruits.
Durian has a spiny peel that needs to be removed before you can enjoy the fruit. Some visitors are so turned off by the smell that they never even taste the creamy fruit that is hiding underneath the stink and spines. Many who have tried the fruit know that the more you actually do eat, the less you will want to stop – and the less that odor will bother you!
Thai durians differ from the durians of countries where the fruit also grows – they are recognized as more subtle and smooth, and often do a better job of winning over finicky tourists. There are dozens of durian varieties to choose from, but three of the more popular ones are are Cha Ni, Kan Yao, and Mon Thong.
You can try durian in a lot of different ways, which is great if you can’t jump right in to the fresh fruit because of the odor. There’s durian chips, durian paste, durian ice cream, drinks made with durian and much more. The fruit is really popular, so it is no surprise that Thais make everything with it.
There is a rumor that drinking bear and eating durian fruit is deadly, but really it’s more likely to cause you a little bloating or gas because your body has to work a little harder to digest the fats and sugars from both products. Don’t worry – it won’t kill you! Though you may want to work on one or the other to keep on the safe side.