Gulping down durian, Indonesia’s ‘King of Fruits’

IMG_2406AD“As if the durian didn’t look appetizing enough, I raise you one fly. Durian is heralded by many Indonesians as the ‘King of Fruits.’ For them, the smell is intoxicating and enak, but it is generally known that durian is anything but aromatic and delicious for the westerners who stay far away from the pungent smell and taste.”


“After my first taste I sent this text message: ‘It has the consistency of dough, smells like … and has the effects of wine.’ Nevertheless, my counterpart insisted that I finish all eight pieces in my half of the durian. I gagged my way through until I was finally offered the generous supply of plastic Bolesa water cups to counteract the physiological effects that were setting in. I have since decided that durian should be more accurately termed ‘the death fruit’ because eating it with medicine, soda, high blood pressure, alcohol, and a continuing list of other contraindications will result in death. Hati-hati!”

Anna DeVries | Pangkal Pinang, Bangka-Belitung


“I am known in my family as ‘the garbage can’ because I willingly eat anything and everything. It may not be the most flattering nickname, but it has been a useful cultural tool during my months in Indonesia. I’ve gulped down many an unpleasant obscure-cow-part with a smile plastered on my face, but the ‘King of Fruits’ may have forced me to relinquish my title. My smile came unglued as I tried not to let the durian touch my tongue on the way down. A heat started in my stomach, and I couldn’t tell if my sudden disorientation was due to the effects of the durian or my disinclination to breathe in the pungent aroma. My Indonesian friends graciously let me stop after five globules of the doughy fruit, but the taste didn’t leave my mouth for hours afterward.”

Kelsey Figone in Pangkal Pinang, Bangka-Belitung

One thought on “Gulping down durian, Indonesia’s ‘King of Fruits’

  1. Pingback: Indonesiaful « The First Fig in Indonesia

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