In Pahang, as in the whole of Malaysia, durians are popularly dubbed the "King of Fruits". The word "durian" is from the Malay word "duri" meaning "thorns", a rather apt description of the fruit's skin or outer husk.
It is perhaps the most popular local fruit and if given choices on fruits, a Malaysian would take the durians first.
Unfortunately, they are seasonal; the trees bear fruits only about twice a year during certain periods, depending on location and weather.
Although it’s the first choice and regarded as the most succulent, delicious or the best fruit to Malaysians, however to most westerners, especially Caucasians, this fruit is notorious for its over-powering or malodorous smell.
It is said to be akin to the smell of burning onions,
toilets, animal carcass, rancid cheese and other disparaging
In fact to appease or comfort foreigners and visitors to the country, the King of Malaysian Fruits is actually barred and banned from being brought into high-star hotels and commercial passenger airplanes by the authorities.
As mentioned above, the durian is a seasonal fruit.
The durian fruit is not plucked from the tree. It ripens on the tree and then falls down to the ground where they are then collected. Collectors will listen to their fall and then go to the place and collect them.
As durians have thorny skins, and fall from great heights, it would be
dangerous to sit or wait under the tree when in season, unless one
wears a safety helmet!
So at the "dusun" or small farm of the villages, normally there is a "wakaf' or hut where the collectors can relax and wait, and then collect the fruits from time to time.
For commercially planted estates or plantations, the fruits that fall are normally caught under huge nets spread below the trees so that they will be nicely preserved from breaking.
Pahang and elsewhere in Malaysia, local folks take advantage when the
fruit is in season and plentiful to make a variety of desserts and
dishes using the flesh as part of the ingredients, like bubur pulut
(glutinous rice porridge), serimuka, kueh bangkit, cendol.
They are sometimes also added to give additional flavor when making modern cakes like cheesecake, pudding, meringue, mousse and even milkshake – well, the whole array of savory dishes.
It is also during its season that related food products like tempoyak, lempok, durian flavored dodol, ice-creams, and other cake preserves and pastes are prepared, extending the period to those longing for its savory taste when it is off-season, with some frozen especially for exports.
Although durians are the best fruit in the world to Malaysians, eating in extremes or over- eating can result, although very infrequent, unfortunately in death, especially if it is mixed with beer or alcohol.
Eating too much of the fruit will result in high body heat due to the fermentation process, and Malaysians usually counter this by drinking water from the inner wall of the skin. It is an old-folks belief and practice, but it does seem effective.
You can also eat the hard seeds by boiling them. The boiled seeds have a slight greasy type of liquid on the skin, but that can be easily washed away before eating.
Although very few people eat the seeds, it might change their perception if they know that it is also traditionally believed by some Malays that eating the boiled seeds can alleviate those who have difficulty in relieving motions especially those with piles and haemorrhoids.
in Pahang famous for their succulent and sweet, savory fruits are Kuala
Lipis, Raub (Benta), Jerantut and Bentong. People come to these places
whenever the fruit is in season to taste the popular durian species
In fact there are many varieties or species in the country. There are new seedless varieties that have greater flesh or "meat", that have been developed through techniques of grafting and mixing the various species and clones.
And with advances in science and technology, the commercially cultivated trees are somewhat shorter in height with faster fruiting period compared to those growing in the wild or those of traditional village home-growers.
When in season, they can be found being sold in heaps at the town markets, night, Sunday and farmers’ markets, and even in make-shift stalls at the road-sides and highways by enterprising villagers.
At the road-sides, you can always find someone stopping by and buying the fruits.
So, don’t forget to savor the succulent sweet-tasting durians when they are in season whenever you’re in Pahang.
Because you’ll then have tasted the King of Fruits!
As always, from me ...