Dan’s Balinese Durian Experience

I was surprised that Dan managed to make 2 vacations to Malaysia within the same year, not many Americans manage to travel this far so frequently (flight and jetlag kills you, unless you’re young like Dan, of course). His thirst and quest for durian was unabated, the starvation and lack of this addictive fruit only made more so during his stay at home in Oregon, his only resort was to supermarket frozen fruit sections where durians from Thailand were purchased and consumed with such detail.

Balinese Durian with Milky Flesh

Balinese Durian with Milky Flesh

His most recent visit was over the Merdeka day holidays (end of August) and he wrote to tell me of his adventures hunting out durian in Singapore and Indonesia. It was his particular experience in Bali that impressed him the most, enough to write and send me the photos of his delicious durian delights.


“In fact, I had the most incredible experience, even better than back in April! The fruit down there is so different than Malaysian variety that when I opened it I totally thought it was old and fermenting from the color/texture. But upon tasting I was completely blown away and definitely appreciate it much more. I’ve put some photos of the “perfect” Indonesian variety so you can see what I’m talking about.”

Close up of the Balinese durian flesh

Close up of the Balinese durian flesh

What was intriguing to me was the way he thought it smelled old and fermenting, but it turned out to be a totally different experience upon tasting the durian fruit itself. I wonder if it was the high concentration of sulphur in the durian that made it smell that way.

Bali is part of the Indonesian archipelago which was formed on the faultline, hence volcanic activity is still somewhat a potential threat to life on the island. However, the volcanic activity is also a blessing for the island as the rich minerals and nutrients were laid down in the fields of today and contribute significantly to the island’s agricultural success. If you’re interested, this site describes where the Balinese Durian Plantations are.

Did your durian smell like a volcano* Dan? 🙂 Maybe that’s why it is so different from the Malaysian variety.

Yummy……the white milky and soft flesh reminds me of the Tauwa Durian….

*At the volcano in Bandung (Indonesia’s island of Java), I thought the volcano smelled heavily of H2S, Hydrogen Sulphide and commonly described as “rotten eggs”.


5 thoughts on “Dan’s Balinese Durian Experience

  1. It’s amazing how just looking at these photos instantly brings back the smell, taste, and texture from that experience. It definitely was not the same volcanic smell you get such as at hot springs, which to me is nearly unbearable. It was much more subtle, with only a slight hint of sulphur. What was most notably missing though was the STRONG durian scent that let’s you know the king is near. I had just had a run of bad luck with durians before finding this beauty, which is why I was so surprised because it didn’t smell all that different from the bad ones. Just another indication not to judge a book by it’s scent OR cover 🙂

    • Ah, I see. I think I misunderstood your note to me. So what you mean is that the durian had no smell or aromas, and that this characteristic is common with the durians that did not taste good? Hope I got it right this time. Interesting and I wonder then if there’s any other way to tell you’ve got a good one by just picking it up. Did you shake it around for ripeness or check the stem for freshness? I noticed in your photo that this particular one must have been quite fresh as the spikes are very verdant green (touched up your photo, can you tell?).

      • Almost got it…the durian did have a smell, just not as strong as others of the same quality. I’m usually pretty good at determining the ripeness of durian from the smell alone, which is why this one threw me off. I very rarely rely on shaking it (or using those sticks that the vendors have) or using the stem for guidance…I’ve just found the scent to be much more reliable. The other surefire trick that I have had great success with is after the “scent test”, if it is at its peak you can apply a minimal amount of pressure along the side with a shoe/sandal (or a lot depending on the size!) and the fruit should split open along the seams. It’s a beautiful (and rare thing) to have this happen! And yes, I like what you did with the photo as the one I sent had that horrible point-and-shoot flash look to it…thank you!

  2. Hi,
    I am writing a book about durian and those who love it. I would really like to get in contact with your friend Dan, he sounds like an avid fan. I will be traveling to Bali in February to get my own taste of the Balinese durian. If he also has any information about Sumatra and Borneo that would be very helpful to me.

    • Hi Lindsay!

      Sure, I’ll put you and Dan in touch, I’m sure he’ll be happy to share his love for durians. I suppose you must love durians too?

      Bali is a beautiful island, I just got back from a weekend trip there. Spent 2 days bouncing in the waves of the Seminyak beach… it was a really great experience. I don’t know if February is the right time for durians but no harm looking for them while you are there enjoying the Balinese hospitality.

      Are you looking for information on Sumatra and Borneo for vacation or specifically about durians?

      Stinky spikes,

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