Durian – A Love Hate Relationship

Durian also known as the king of fruits inspires passion amongst its lovers. And nothing less than disdain and disgust from its detractors. This delicasy {to some}is forbidden in most hotels throughout Southeast Asia, as well as in subways and airports. Numerous festivals are held in its honor, highlighted by the World Durian Festival held in early May in Thailand.

Whats in a name?

The name Durian comes from the Malay word for thorn. It is native to Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia although it is grown throughout Southeast Asia. Durian is oblong in shape and usually weighs between two and seven pounds. Its thorn covered husk holds sections of its creamy flesh. The flesh ranges in color from white to pale yellow. It grows in the branches of trees that can grow up to fifty meters. Their are thirty species of Durian, nine of them are edible.

Doug meets Durian.

My first experience with Durian came outside of Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok. I was repulsed at first by its putrid odor. I was egged on by my girlfriend to “at least give it a try.” Once I got  past the smell of a gym locker gone bad, I found the texture to be creamy and smooth. And much to my surprise the flavor was sweet with just a hint of bitterness. The children of the street vendor giggled at the sight of a tourist being hesitant to try something that is so natural to them.

Durian does get a bad rap though. Its strong odor is enough to send tourists and locals alike running to the sweeter more subtle Asian fruits. But if you can get past the reputation, as well as the foul smell that surrounds it, crack that husk and give it a whirl. So summon up your courage,”and at least give it a try”. You never know. You might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Durian Ice Cream


4 to 6 segments fresh, frozen or canned durian, enough to make 4 ounces durian paste
2  egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup light cream
1 cup whole milk


Remove the seeds from the durian. Use an electric mixer to mix the flesh into a paste. Press the paste through a fine sieve. You should have 4 ounces durian paste at this point. . Chill the durian paste until ready to use.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and sugar.

Bring the milk and cream to a near boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. Pour in the egg mixture, stirring constantly to thicken. Take care not to let the mixture boil, or the milk will curdle .

Allow the custard to cool. Chill the custard in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes, until it is just beginning to harden. Gradually stir in the durian paste, a tablespoon at a time.

Either continue freezing, stirring several times throughout, or finish the ice cream in an ice cream maker.

Have you had an experience, good or bad with Durian?  Share your story with me in the comment section below.


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