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Durian Time in Bali

It’s that time of the year again when you can’t take them into a taxi or a bus, or even into a shopping centre and, some hotels even ban them being devoured in their rooms. In fact, Durian is one of those fruits that give off an odour even before it is sliced open. And yes, they are delicious to eat; or so I am told never having the tastebuds to continue eating them. Once was enough for me!

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine and gym socks.

The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as “a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds”. The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

My wife Candika loves them and so do our good friends in Bali and we often have Durian get-togethers; yours truly preferring to take photos. I did have Durian ice-cream in Java once and loved it but have been unable to obtain it in Bali.