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Colorful Durian in Malaysia

- 1 October 2013, 07:10
I believe many of you have never heard about the red durian.
I haven’t heard or tasted it. Have you?
Wonder whether you have come across the “red flesh durian.”
Looks like durian
Smells like durian
Tastes like durian
It’s durian….
What makes Sabah people so happy in year end? Xmas? New Year? Oh ya, a King was born on Christmas. Guess what. The “King of Fruits”
is born too, as it’s fruiting season now in Sabah, and durian is everywhere! Besides the ordinary durians, someone is more interested in two special breeds of Sabah durians, the Durian Sukang (Red Durian) and Durian Dalit (Orange Durian) of Borneo.
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Durio graveolens is a typical size for durian trees, about 50 meters tall.
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Durian Sukang (Red-flesh Durian), Species: Durio graveolens
When ripe, the husk of Durian Sukang turns yellow, with short and sharp spines.
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Durian Dalit (Orange-flesh Durian), Species: Durio oxleyanus
The husk of Durian Dalit is green color, with long and thick thorns outside.
Durio graveolens is the poster child of the jungle durians.  That ravishingly red interior is so shockingly bright many people question the useof food coloring. It’s also one of the most popular durian species, sold widely in markets throughout Borneo. Many people actually prefer it to regular durian, and with good reason.
Despite it’s notoriety (or maybe because of it), Durio graveolens is the most confusing of all the durian species we’ve found.
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A local daily reported that the small durians, about the size of a sepak takraw ball, are sold for RM2 to RM3 when they are in season.
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That lipstick red durian flesh is the image that most people associate with Durio graveolens. It’s small and the exterior is a bright yellow sometimes tinged brown. It has a mild odor, and a thick cheesy flesh with barely any flavor. Many people compare it to eating avocado.
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But there’s another side to Durio graveolens. An addicting smooth, nutty, cheesy side that’s so thick it’s hard to swallow.  So savory,sweet and fatty that it led to Rob and me to argue over whether it could fairly be compared to pimento cheese (vegans and our memories!). This version of Durio graveolens is neon orange or bright yellow packaged in a spiky green or yellow exterior. It can be as large as a small Durio zibethinus.
So what’s the deal?
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Red and orange durian fruits are very small and can be held by one palm. Both are considered as Wild Durians.
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Red-fleshed durian opening on the tree
It’s possible that Durio graveolens is actually two species lumped under one name.  It seems even more probable given the difference in the way the two fruits mature. Like most durians, the orange-fleshed durian falls to the forest floor when ripe. The red-fleshed one doesn’t. The durian remains attached to the tree as the fruit opens and drops the flesh and seeds onto the ground. Botanist Anthony Lamb has suggested that the orange-fleshed one, known locally as Dalit, is a different species.
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When compared to a common durian seed, the seeds of both wild durians look so small.
The commercially-planted durian fruit has thick layer of yellow flesh. In contrast, though creamy as well, the flesh of red and orange durians is thin, and the taste is slightly bland. However, their scent is strong and distinctive, like fermented wine. The taste and flavor of red durian is twice as strong as orange durian. That’s why red durian is sold more (and fast) than the cheaper orange durian. Some says you would get a bit “drunken” if you eat too many red durian.
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Orange flesh durian for sale in market in Kuala Penyu town. A bundle of 6 or 7 was sold for RM17.
Red and Orange flesh durians are not being cultivated on a large scale, so you won’t see them often in city market. You have to look for them in local market of rural or suburban areas of Sabah.
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Even Orangutan Love Durian & enjoys as a delicacy.

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