Durian Delights: Exploring the Quirky Side of Southeast Asia's Favorite Fruit
Durian Trees Live Longer Than Humans
Durian trees are known for their longevity, with an average lifespan of 80 to 150 years. Some trees can even live longer than that, but typically they only die when they are knocked over by a storm or cut down by humans. In the wild, durian trees can grow to heights of 90 to 130 feet and are considered a sub-canopy tree, meaning they grow beneath taller trees in the forest.
While durian trees can live for many decades, they require a lot of care and attention to thrive. They need a warm, humid climate with plenty of rainfall and well-draining soil. In addition, they are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, which can make them challenging to cultivate.
Durians Met the Western World 600 Years Ago
The durian has been a beloved fruit in Southeast Asia for centuries, but it wasn’t until about 600 years ago that Europeans first encountered the fruit. The first recorded reference to the durian in Europe comes from Nicolo Conti, an Italian merchant who traveled to Southeast Asia in the 15th century.
Conti described the durian as “a fruit as large as a watermelon, with a strong and unpleasant odor,” and noted that it was eaten by the locals but disliked by most Europeans. Despite its initial unpopularity, the durian eventually gained a following in the Western world and is now sought after by adventurous foodies around the globe.
For durian lovers, a trip to Southeast Asia isn’t complete without a visit to a durian farm. In Penang, Malaysia, Bao Sheng Farm offers durian lovers the chance to vacation on their 6.7-acre durian farm. The farm offers personalized durian tasting sessions, where visitors can sample a variety of durian cultivars and learn about the different flavors and textures of the fruit.
In addition to tasting sessions, the farm offers a range of other durian-related activities, such as hunting for durians in the orchard, cooking classes using durian products, and demonstrations on how to choose the best durian. Immersing oneself in the world of durian is a unique and flavorful experience that is not to be missed.
Durian as a Natural Bed Bug Repellent
While the strong odor of durian can be off-putting to some, it turns out that it can be useful in keeping bed bugs at bay. In Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, locals use the peel of the durian fruit to repel bed bugs. They place the peel where bed bugs are found and the smell of the durian sends the bugs scurrying away.
While this may seem like an unconventional use for the fruit, it is a testament to its versatility and usefulness in everyday life.
For those who love a challenge and a bit of fun, there is an annual Durian Run event held in Manchis, Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia. Bentong is a well-known area for durian production, and the Durian Run event is a unique way for locals and visitors to celebrate this beloved fruit.
The event typically takes place in June and includes a 5-kilometer run through scenic durian orchards, rolling hills, and lush forests. Along the route, participants can sample various types of durian, as well as other local fruits and snacks.
One of the highlights of the Durian Run in Bentong is the “Durian Feast” that takes place after the race. Participants can indulge in a wide variety of durian, including the popular Musang King and D24 varieties. The feast is accompanied by traditional music and dance performances, creating a festive atmosphere that celebrates the durian and local culture.
The Durian Run in Bentong is not just a fun event, it also supports local farmers and the durian industry. By participating in the event, runners can learn more about durian production and the challenges faced by farmers, as well as contribute to the local economy.
Overall, the Durian Run in Bentong is a great way to experience the beauty of the Malaysian countryside, enjoy delicious durian and other local treats, and support the local community. Whether you’re a serious runner or just a durian enthusiast, this unique event is definitely worth checking out!