Thursday, September 10, 2009


Durian, king of the fruits to people of South East Asia.

Patty is one of the few foreigners who like durians.

This fruit has a reputation because of it's good smell or terrible odor depending who is describing it. It is spoken with such a passion that many people are curious.

It is used in the Fear factor series and some contestants say it is the worst things they have tasted. My European Sis in law's dad pinched his nose as he briskly walked along a road selling durians and likened it to walking past a row of out house where there were lots of drunken puke.

Yet, My American teacher Miss. F after some years in Sarawak got to like the fruit, and so does my UK friend A.

Hating the fruits are also the newly arrived Chinese camp. The Chinese name for durian is LU LIAN. There is a saying, once you learn to like the durian, you will either settle or come back to the country.

This is what had happened to most Chinese in South East Asia, my fore fathers didn't like durian, but after a few year, they loved it, and the rest is history. After 3 generations, you get me, a self proclaimed Queen of durians. I will leave this to another post.

Not all Chinese in South east Asia like durian. One of my uncles, M was born in Sarawak, but returned to China as a toddler. When he came to Sarawak again as a teen ager, he said the durian's bad smell was so overpowering that he refused to eat it. His branch of the family, todate refuses to eat it. He even told us a story that I thought was very rule of him, especially when we are eating it. He, a gentle scholar would make puking sounds which I thought was very odd of him. Dad would say, ignore him.

About five years ago, the Chinese were doing a history of Admiral Cheng Ho/Zheng He’s 600th year of expedition to South-East Asia and the Western Ocean. I read the story. So my uncle M did not make up this rude story.

The Thai people revere Admiral Cheng Ho as a God that saved the Thai people. After a long sea faring trip from China, the sailors had no food to eat. They landed in Thailand (Here you are, Patty) and were starving. Admiral Cheng Ho whom they also called SAN PO KUNG aka Third Grand Father, went to the bush and moved his bowel. From the excrement grew a big tree. A durian tree, the people ate the fruits of this tree and called it, what my Uncle M, calls the S*** of SAN PO.

There are lots more about the durian. I will post with other photos.

This photo was taken in Miri, on the last day of our trip in July. My uncle Albert took us to this stall. I took this photo of this "cowboy" vendor, holding the durian with bare hands. In other places, they wear thick gloves. Durians are very prickly, you see, men in Sarawak are very tough. In Singapore, they call such men, " Very Men." Now, I wonder why I didn't marry a man from Sarawak. LOL.


aurbie said...

Oh, that is too funny about the excrement tree.

The first time I was in Thailand one of the house women, where I was staying, cut up a durian for me before I left on a long trip to go to the Cambodia border. She put it in a plastic bag.

I headed for the bus, and the driver ran towards me waving his hands yelling, "No durian! No durian!" He promptly took the durian from me and put it under the bus, in the storage area.

By the time I got to the border, it was really stinky, but one of the refugee people was very happy to have it.

I also noticed that many of the hotels in Thailand had signs that read, "No Durians."

About 5 years ago, I actually found a durian in an asian store in Atlanta, Georgia - it was a real one, just like it came off the tree. I was excited and they were very surprised to see an American know what a durian was.

I have no idea how they got it into the states, but I never saw another one.

Anonymous said...

Sure enjoy reading stories about your foods and culture. The only exposure I have had to different fruits was in Belize. I didn't hear of these though.

Unknown said...

Wa......a durian post from the Durian queen. Do you know they have durian chips in Thailand, here too, but the Thai version are better!!

Sara Diana said...

Brilliant! Thank you so much for that cultural education but after hearing the story I dont think I would fancy that fruit either!!!!!

NanU said...

Wonderful story! Reading your blog is a real pleasure.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...


I LOL with your story. You should write about your travels to Thailand.

In Australia and New Zealand, they do sell frozen whole durians imported from Thailand. To me, the Queen of Durian, it has to be the real McCoy. But my siblings in Australia buy them sometimes, and say it is not too bad.

Just posted the rest of my durian story.