The tallest durian tree in the world

I really enjoyed this article about the hunt for more elusive Durians. The red and orange Durians, as this article confirms are dead disappointing in taste and it’s just not worth the hassle apart from the novelty of bring instagrammed with it in your hand. Wild Durians probably are relatively “gamey” and appeal only to a narrow palate or if there’s nothing else around to eat.

What was interesting in the article was the mention of the tallest durian tree at 57.5m. The century old tree is located in the deep interior of Sabah in Kampung Kenang-Kenangan supposedly produces 2000 fruit per season. Wow… that’s a real durian bonanza.

The tallest durian tree is located in Tongod

He’s on the hunt for the tortoise durian .. I’m keen to know what that’s like.

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Zero gravity durian

In the name of science, people are willing to do crazy experiments. Like crazy expensive experiments. Nothing is too much in the name of science.

The Thai space agency sent a vacuum packed package if Durians into space for a few minutes. Accompanying the Stinky orbiting astronaut were some packets of jasmine rice. (Here’s the article).

In fact, it’s so ridiculous a proposition that I wonder how they justified the cost. Well, here’s the rationale.

β€œIn the future we want astronauts to be able to eat Thai food,” said a spokesperson for Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

Is this Thai astronauts eating Thai food or other astronauts eating thai food? Weird. The thai food that springs to my mind isn’t a packet of dehydrated durian. More like a great phad thai, a som tum salad or a fabulous Tom yum soup.

Any other reason?

β€œWe want to see whether there are any physical changes after it returns to earth, for example it might get smaller, or cracked.”

Err ok... so you want to see if vacuum packaging works well in space or if freeze dried durian may dehydrate some more?

I just don’t get it. Let me know if you’ve heard the results.

Durians back to back

Hi everyone!

It’s been a long silence due to some domestic chaos that’s been happening. It’s temporarily paused my blogging but never my opportunity to eat or have my ear to the ground about Durians.

I hope you’ve all been well and enjoying eating/ growing/ reading about the Stinky Spikes. I’ll be picking up the news from last year to bring the blog back up to date πŸ™‚

Get ready for blast off!

S1

A fruit that smells like itself

“I like fruit that smells like itself and not like something else” declared SC while cutting into some deliciously decadent milk tea roll from Yoku Moku.

“What does that mean exactly?” I asked my friend who was butchering the roll because the steel knife was a little too small.

“I just prefer fruit that smell and taste the same as how they visually appear… and are less pungent, you know” SC said grimly, examining his handiwork before offering up a grin as he served me a piece.

“Ok, so you don’t like durian. What other fruits fall into that category?” I was finding this very interesting indeed… the smell of fruits is indeed usually a subtle affair, made more so that these days, fruits are often sold packed in plastic, picked before they are ripe, or are genetically selected for other traits, scent not being one of them.

“Well… like mango for example. It doesn’t smell good to me.”

Really?! Delicious creamy mango, a fruit that has been marketed to represent the tropics and used almost as ubiquitously in equatorial cocktail drinks as the coconut?

“Err… what do you think mango smells like?” Probing… probing…

“Durian to me smells like cheesy feet, mango to me smells like raw sewage” he spat out. This description opened my eyes. Literally. I’ve never heard of mango described as smelling like raw sewage. Durian has been described by many using lots of nasty adjectives but mango to most South East Asians is sweet and fragrant(for example Thai and Philippino cuisine would be far drearier without it). How can our perceptions be so astoundingly different?

SC is a wine connoisseur, he has a sensitive nose and palate, able to distinguish the very flavours and “hint” components that make up the aroma of each wine. I’m assuming he’s very sensitive to sulphur and esters that are natural components in fruit, but perhaps are in greater concentrations in mango (and durian).

What does he like?

Grapes, strawberries, melon, peach, cherries, apples, pears, all citrus fruits. Not hot on banana, mango, jackfruit, durian. Got it.

When commercial crops clash with local tribes…

In a rather rural and remote part of Kelantan there’s a dispute over durian plantations… hopefully this is not going the way of palm oil. If it is, you should only buy fruits from old trees, except that there’s no real way to know.

Read about it here.

It not only affects the way of life of the indigenous people but I’m guessing also their livelihood.

Good news for durian lovers in Malaysia…its now super cheap!!

Wow the supply has exceeded demand in Malaysia.. time to go durian hunting and not get ripped off. Of course the cheapest durians are in the villages but even in the city you should be seeing reductions in prices.

Let me know if you’re enjoying durians in Malaysia at these rock bottom prices! I am envious!

Durian prices drop to lowest at RM1 per fruit

Durian seller risk

What’s the risk of being a durian seller?

Well lots actually. In malaysia and singapore, there are lots of little one man stalls that sell durian whenever it’s in season. What sorts of risks could they possibly face? I thought I might take a stab at listing a few:

1) bad weather.

This affects the entire chain. From supply to demand. Bad weather, whether it’s too much sun or too much rain affects the fruiting of the trees and the numbers and qualities of the fruit. On the demand side, when it’s raining, less people are inclined to head out. Profits not guaranteed.

2) triads and corrupt cops.

Yes, most stalls in cities need to pay some sort of protection money, even if their stall is in a licensed area (which many are not, they are illegal hawkers). The problem here is that they are at the whim and fancy of all powers that be on the street. One of the durian sellers I had a chat with when I bought from him, told me that the triads come at least once a month to collect a certain sum of cash… he would just have to prepare it and pay up. Worse, he said, were the cops. They would come anytime and often different ones would also approach him. Either for free durian or petty cash. No choice in either situation. You gotta pay rent to someone.

3) it’s a cash business.

Well, it is mostly at these stalls… card facilities are just too expensive to maintain. Though with direct mobile payments, perhaps this might change. So you can imagine all the issues with cash dealing.., there’s lots of cash that needs to be kept safe every day (as a float, a day’s earnings or cash to buy durians off the middlemen) or you’re a target for thieves. Most durian sellers will try to have more than one person at the stall for exactly that reason and also try to place their stall in areas of high visibility (both for clients convenience and their own safety). Check out this latest article where a durian seller was robbed and stabbed.

4) the danger in the product itself.

Durians are heavy and full of thorns. Drop one on your foot and it is quite unforgiving unless you’re wearing mining boots. (Observe your sellers footwear in future :)) Durian sellers often have rough tough hands, coarse from handling fruit. Many durian are sprayed with pesticide to keep the bugs and other animals off, I can’t imagine what these chemicals do to the skin over time.