Gray Matter


Durian Is a Fruit in the Philippines With a Very Strong Odor

RT Cunningham | January 12, 2021 (UTC) | Food and Drink

durianI’ve eaten some strange things over the course of my 60 years of life. Some of those things I don’t care to remember. I will always remember the durian fruit even though I’ve never eaten any.

Someone near me back in the eighties (when I was in Olongapo) was eating something with a strong odor, but I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t actually see it. In 2016, I learned that the odor belonged to the durian fruit. The fruit itself doesn’t taste bad, according to those who eat it, but the odor is strong and pungent. It kind of reminds me of rotten onions.

The Durian Fruit Grows on Mindanao

My daughter-in-law, Cathy, went to Mindanao for about three weeks in July 2016. When she returned, she brought some durian fruit in a sealed Styrofoam container back with her. Even though she sealed it well enough, I could still smell the fruit.

Cathy’s family lives on Mindanao, arguably the largest island in the Philippines. From what I understand, that fruit only grows on that island, in the Davao Region. From what I also understand, it’s not a native fruit. Someone imported it from Malaysia or somewhere else a long time ago.

The Odor That Remains

Cathy put the container in the refrigerator. Every time someone opened the refrigerator, that odor would permeate the entire house. Except for the bedrooms, of course, because the doors usually stay closed. The odor was strong enough to infiltrate anything in the refrigerator that wasn’t sealed, including open containers of water.

She finally tossed it out around the beginning of August. The odor still lingered in various areas of our house for the remainder of the month. Or perhaps it was just the memory of the odor. There are other food items in the Philippines with strong odors, including dried fish and bagoong alamang (fermented shrimp paste). None of their odors are as strong as the durian fruit.

Photo Attribution: Christopher Jayanata from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in August 2016.

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