Durian, Heaven or Hell?

Durian is perhaps the most reputedly controversial fruit, being loved to bits and hated to the core at the same time. For those who could not tolerate the smell or taste of the fruit, they have described it as disgustingly pungent, as smelly as the gas leaking from the stove, a cruel onslaught of the palate like rotten mushy meat, or even dung (apologies, but people have gone to that vicious extremity in description). But people who are passionate about the fruit fondly thought of it as the most extraordinary fruit you can find on earth, and are of the opinion that the flesh tastes heavenly rich, has a great depth that puts you on an addictive high. Die-hard fans would go to all lengths to find the best durian, regardless of where it might be or how much it could cost.

Singaporeans need no introduction to this exotic tropical, Southeast Asia fruit which bears the King of Tropical Fruit title conferred by the Asians since time immemorial. According to a Wiki source, its name comes from the Malay word duri (thorn) together with the suffix -an (for building a noun in Malay). The fruit’s smell is indescribable – robust, definitely non-fruity (as what we normally understand about fruitiness), and its appearance most unusual and outrageous with forest green, pointy spikes fully covering its skin. Its flesh looks like yellow butter-custard, tastes creamy and extremely sweet, and sometimes even carries a tinge of bitter, alcoholic taste. In Singapore, this fruit has made its way into the manufacturing of many foods, including puffs, cakes, pancakes, wraps, biscuits, ice-cream, desserts, moon cakes, etc. Its tree takes 7 to 10 years to bear fruit from a seed, but with marcotted and grafted plants, the waiting time is drastically reduced to 3 to 4 years.

If this fruit is new to you and reading this has made you feel wary or fearful of it, my advice would be – just go for it, if you never try, you’ll never know!


Durian-Seng, the man opposite Sembawang Shopping Centre has been featured by the local media for his good and cheap durians.


This fruit has become synonymous with the Singapore identity. Some 1000 tonnes are imported from Malaysia every year. Species of the fruit include D2, D24, D13, D17, D18, XO, TenTen, and the list goes on. It was told that good, ripe ones have these attributes – are oval-shaped, have bright green shell, sharp thorns, bulges, seeds that move slightly when the fruit is shaken, and give out a strong nice smell at the base of the fruit. Never choose one that is too round, has a shaky stalk, yellowish shell, and damaged thorns.


Mature specimens of the tree can grow up to 50 metres.

End of “Durian, Heaven or Hell?” Back to “MySingapore Blog”.

Leave a Reply