If you’ve heard anything about durian – a large, spiky-shelled, creamy-fleshed fruit with a delicately complex flavour – I bet it’s the fact that it’s banned on public transit in Singapore. That’s because of its overpoweringly noxious scent, variously described as garlicky, like “used socks,” and even “raw sewage”. Notoriously rule-heavy Singapore isn’t alone; many Southeast Asian locales have banned consuming or even transporting the fruit in public places, out of concern for the common good.
But great news has just arrived for durian fans who can’t keep their love to themselves. A fruit tree researcher in Thailand has engineered a durian subspecies, whose fruit retains all the joy for the tongue, without the wallop to the nasal cavity.
“This new type of durian is believed to be a branch of the popular Mon Thong variety grown in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima, northeast Thailand. Growers claim that the new durian variety is sweet, tender, and has no peculiar smell.
Currently, this odorless durian variety has been granted a trademark and geographical indication (GI) certificate by Thailand’s National Office of Intellectual Property, recognizing that the product originates from a specific geographical location and has prestigious quality credited to the region. […]
At present, the fruit is banned from most hotels, airlines and public transport in many Asian cities, such as Singapore. […]
In 2019, a durian was dumped near an air vent at an Australian university, prompting students and staff to evacuate the campus and call rescue teams to locate the source.”
Without its characteristic odour, will the acknowledged “king of fruit” lose any of its awesome grandeur? I doubt it – as we at DFC know, making your flavours more accessible means more popularity. I might even be inclined to try one of these scentless durians at home; I bet breaking it down would be a fun activity, much like one of my all-time faves, pomelo. And when I do, I’ll raise a slice in solidarity to those durian fans who can finally chow down on the train in peace!