1. When Durian is in the house you know it
The quality which has earned my favorite fruit (sorry Soursop you’ve been surpassed) its notoriety, an invasively pungent odor, has been described as “pig-shit, turpentine and onions garnished with a gym sock,” and has gotten it banned on public transport systems, hotels, and a littany of public places throughout South East Asia. Anthony Bourdain noted that after eating it “your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.” I don’t want to get into how he knows what it smells like to French-kiss a dead grandmother, but it sounds traumatic. In other words, if you eat Durian, anyone in the same room, subway car or public park is going to know it. Well maybe not that last one. Maybe not.
A No Durians Allowed Sign in Kuala Lumpur
2. People throw parties centered around it
Unfortunately it took me way too long to get past the smell and realize the exquisite taste, so I have yet to attend a Durian party. But it’s now on the top of my bucket list. So if you’re having a Durian party, please invite me! Who needs alcohol when you’ve got Durian? In Singapore, Durian street parties are reported to last until as late as 4 AM. Liquefied Durian is injected straight into the bloodstream to maximize the effects and then frenzied revelers dance until their feet fall off. Just kidding. I hope. Kind of.
3. When Durian is near the crowd cheers
Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to take place in a traditional Balinese procession. We walked from Besakih, the Mother Temple of Bali, to a holy spring a few hours away, wearing sarongs and carrying large replicas of deities on our shoulders. Kintamani, the mountainous region we passed through, is filled with Durian Trees. Without fail, every time we saw one, hundreds of people amongst the crowd of over a thousand hollered the name of the sacred fruit, yipped, cheered and laughed.
4. People will cross borders to get a taste
Singaporeans, who, after five minutes of internet research, appear to be the most Durian crazed people on the planet, will pay to take all you can eat day tours through the Durian farms just across the Malaysian border. For the very reasonable fee of 60 Singapore Dollars you get to eat all the Durian you can fit in your belly. However, some companies stopped doing the tours because people were complaining that the quality of the Durians was poor. When asked why this might be, the owner of one of the companies replied, “All the good durians have already been shipped to Singapore.”
5. If you had to pick one fruit to wield in a fight, it would be a Durian
Picture this scenario: you’re walking home from the night market and suddenly you hear heavy breathing and soft footsteps behind you. Then, a creepy grunt is emitted and the footsteps increase in frequency. You realize that you’re being chased by a stranger with unsavory motives. Normally your heart would be stricken with fear, but not tonight; you bought a huge Durian at the market! You whip it out of your organic reusable shopping bag and swing it by the stem aggressively in front of you. The knife-wielding delinquent trying to rob you sees it and flees in terror, knowing that you can’t bring a knife to a Durian fight.
6. It has its own World Festival
Every year a few hundred thousand people gather in Chanthaburi, Thailand, to bask in the magnificence of the world’s best Durians. Competitions range from the largest Durian to the weirdest shaped to speed eating. And of course, the main event, Miss Durian World Beauty Pageant. I wonder if there’s a Durian speed eating competition tied into that… On top of the World Durian Festival, there is a whole calendar full of Durian Festivals. My dream is to one day become a Durian Groupie and go to every festival in a year.
Miss Durian World 2013 AKA My Dream Girl
7. Durian has its own Kingdom in a Donkey Kong Video Game
Each level ends when Donkey Kong takes a bite out of a giant durian. Probably because the euphoric effects are so intense that he no longer possesses the coordination to jump around and smash stuff anymore.
8. People kill for it
The next time a Durian falls off your neighbor’s tree and rolls into your backyard, you should probably return it. If not, you might get beaten to death by an unruly Durian fiend with a piece of wood.
So the next time you feast upon this most delicious of delicacies, think about all the awesome reasons why Durian is the King of Fruits!