Eating Durian for the First Time

Cailin eating durian - Eating durian for the first time

Durian is a funny looking, large, spikey, green fruit that is popular throughout out South East Asia. It is loved by many while others can’t stand to be within 100 feet of it. The fruit has a strong potent smell that many describe as being similar to petrol and/or rotten onions. The smell is considered revolting to many and since it is so strong the fruit is often banned in many places like on public transportation, in hotels and other public places.

It took me until my second trip to South East Asia to attempt to try this fruit for the first time while I was traveling through Terengganu, Malaysia. At the Chinatown market in Kuala Terengganu, various vendors line the main street selling the fruit and you can smell them as you approach before you can even see them.

Durian Vendor - Eating Durian for the first time

Lucky for me I found a great vendor who let me try a piece for free so I didn’t need to bother with buying a whole fruit. (That definitely would not of been allowed back on the bus with me.) I even tried to give him a couple of ringits for my sample but he wouldn’t take it, rather he enjoyed watching my experience trying the fruit.

At first the smell although strong didn’t really bug me. It actually smelled sweet however I think it was the texture that put me over the edge. I just wasn’t prepared for how odd it was going to be. I have never seen a fruit like this before. It had a malleable membrane and under that it was a creamy substance instead of being solid like a melon or juicy like a berry. It was literally like nothing I had seen before.

I picked up the fruit and took my first bite and it slopped into my mouth. Now in my mouth the aromas filled my olfactory bulb and overwhelmed my sense of smell. The first words out of my mouth, “Nope. Nope I do not like this at all.”

Durian Fruit - Eating Durian for the first time

It tasted of rotten onions, was kind of salty, and burned a bit. Apparently depending on the season the fruit is either sweet or bitter. To me it was all over the place and wrong. I could not fathom how someone would LOVE this fruit.

I handed off the remaining fruit to my friend Malcolm from Singapore who eagerly devoured it as it is delicious to him. However then I was left to deal with getting the taste out of my mouth and getting it off of my hand.

The fruit stall guy had me drink water out of the pod of the fruit. I’m not sure if this was a good way to get rid of the taste or if he just thought it would be something funny to make a tourist do. Then he poured water on my hands to help me clean them and I grabbed a wet nap from my purse (always travel with wet naps) to try to get rid of it from my hand.

The taste eventually went away but reappeared in a nasty burp as it digested. TMI I know, but these are the things people want to know when trying new foods!

To enjoy my experience watch my video:

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Before trying the fruit I did do some research about it and some of the things I read said that you might hate it your first time but the second time you try it you might love it. Although it was pretty nasty I would try it again just to see if I can learn to love it.

Until next time Durian.

Have you ever tried it? What was your experience? What other odd foods have you eaten on your travels?

Special thanks to the Terengganu Tourism board for hosting me in Malaysia. As always all opinions and views expressed are my own… as are the nasty things I sometimes taste. ;)

26 Comments

  • Reply
    William E Nauta
    February 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I always wanted to try “stinkfruit”. on a cruise including BALI, My guide knew of a Durian ONLY stand.
    We each had a whole one,prepared by the owner.It was much like a Mexican fruit.
    I discovered why they are called that!
    On the tender back to the ship, I was forced aft to open air!!
    I was required to take 3 showers before being seated for dinner.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      February 18, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      lol oh no!

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    November 18, 2015 at 7:13 am

    I’m so glad that you did this so that I didn’t have to

  • Reply
    Rob
    June 14, 2015 at 2:29 am

    My first (and last) time to taste durian was in a Malaysian market much like in your video! I’ve stayed at a few hotels that have signs “no durians” yet I could still smell them from another room! Yuck! I must admit that Asia has some of the sweetest tasting tropical fruits all except the durian :)

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 8, 2015 at 6:51 am

    A friend brought back some sweets from Thailand that were ‘Durian’ flavoured. I swear this was a prank! This is the worst thing I have ever tasted! How do I get rid of the taste – oh god the burps!!! Please make it stop :(

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 12, 2015 at 12:36 am

      haha I feel your pain, the burps and after taste are definitely haunting! lol

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    September 24, 2014 at 3:42 am

    I love durian so much I’ve spent the last three years traveling in Southeast Asia specifically to eat it! Haha :) Check it out at http://www.yearofthedurian.com.

    Cool to see you where in Terrenganu. I was just there last month, but the durian season was over :(

  • Reply
    Jonathan
    August 10, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    At first, I didn’t know, but my mother corrected me that it was a durian and not a pineapple. As for my experience, it tasted fine and I clearly did not smell it. Seriously I did not smell it.

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    April 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve had durian-flavored ice cream and milkshakes here in the U.S. Not bad. But I’ve never eaten it straight. Thanks for doing that for me! Someone once told me that durians are ripened by passing through an elephant, sort of like the coffee beans that are collected after passing through monkeys. I think the image/idea is interesting but I don’t, of course, believe that.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 30, 2014 at 10:02 am

      I googled that just now and apparently its believed to be an aphrodisiac after its passed through an elephant but it seems like it would be a difficult feat. The durian is so pointy and prickly you would think that it would really hurt the elephant. Odd. Who knows! haha

  • Reply
    Rhonda Albom
    April 28, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Once I got past the smell, I really liked it. I tried it in Malaysia out of the boot of someones car.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 29, 2014 at 9:08 am

      haha thats a great story to remember!

  • Reply
    Erin - The World Wanderer
    April 28, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Hahaha, you’re adorable. Seriously, cutest durian fruit eater ever. So I’ll admit, I didn’t brave eating durian, but now I’m curious, and grossed out. Haha.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 29, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Erin! That is totally what I was going for! ;) hahaha
      You MUST try ti next time! Remember its a fruit so it can’t be that bad! Way better than trying something like balut! haha

  • Reply
    Rease
    April 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    hahaha I love this. “Do you like it?” “NO. I do not like it!”

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 29, 2014 at 9:09 am

      I really wanted to like it! and the smell didn’t bother me that much at first… haha

  • Reply
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    April 28, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I’ve been avoiding durian the whole 3 years that I’ve been living in Malaysia but finally tried some last week. I was somewhat encouraged that, of all the durian I’ve smelled, this was the least odoriferous. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I didn’t gag, vomit, or immediately spit it out. I took one more tiny nibble to make sure I really didn’t like it. I think I’ve had stinky French cheese that was worse.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 29, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Wow! I can’t believe it took you 3 years! haha I was told that apparently depending on how ripe it is the smell and taste can vary from bitter to sweet. I will definitely need to try it again.

  • Reply
    Elaine
    April 27, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    When I was in Bali, somebody brought back some durian to eat in our dorm room …. the smell hung around for the remainder of our stay, and they earned the scorn of everybody there :P

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 29, 2014 at 9:12 am

      hahaha those people know how to not make friends! Most of the hotels I stayed in had signs saying “no durian allowed” for that exact reason.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 27, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Uggghhhh grosssss. I’ve actually never been brave enough to try it, but the smell alone was bad enough for me the few times I ran across it in Asia.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 29, 2014 at 9:12 am

      thats not very “dangerous” of you! haha You must try it next time! :)

  • Reply
    David B.
    April 27, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    How sad to not enjoy it, but not everyone likes everything, and durian is famously polarizing. I love durian myself and find others’ hate for it hard to fathom. Yes it is very pungent but it’s a unique smell and not an intrinsically bad one to me. Actually a good smell given its association with a (to me) delicious taste. To me it tastes very different than it smells.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 29, 2014 at 9:13 am

      To me it definitely at first smelled better than it tasted. I really wanted to like it! I will try it again thought because I’ve heard that you enjoy it the second time. We will see :)

  • Reply
    RaW | Ramble and Wander
    April 27, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Just had a good laugh watching the video, haha!

    By the way, drinking water out of the pod of the fruit is supposed to help your body cool down as it can get a bit hot especially after eating too much durian.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 27, 2014 at 9:38 am

      hahaha I am glad you enjoyed it! And good to know about drinking the water from the pod! I had no idea what they had me doing! haha

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