Red and Orange Durians of Sabah

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.

Pic: Durian Dalit (Orange-flesh Durian), Species: Durio oxleyanus
The husk of Durian Dalit is green color, with long and thick thorns outside.

Pic: Durian Sukang (Red-flesh Durian), Species: Durio graveolens
When ripe, the husk of Durian Sukang turns yellow, with short and sharp spines.

Red and orange durian fruits are very small and can be held by one palm. Both are considered as Wild Durians.

Pic: Durian flesh in red, orange and yellow colors. Which one you like huh?

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.

Where to Buy

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 (or tamu native market) of rural or suburban areas of Sabah. I think you can find them in Petagas and Donggongon, which are quite near to Kota Kinabalu. But you have to be there early before these durians are quickly snapped up by others.

Pic: Orange flesh durian for sale in market in Kuala Penyu town. A bundle of 6 or 7 was sold for RM17 (≈USD5.70).

The red durian was sold out in Kuala Penyu last week. Luckily we found a roadside stall selling red durian around Membakut.

Pic: A bundle of 4 was sold for RM20 (≈USD6.70).

Don’t be sad if you can’t find wild durian. There are many other cultivated durians for sale at roadside.

The harvest this year is very good, so durian lovers are excited about the cheap durians.

Pic: Be careful if you put durians in your car, the odoriferous scent will fill the car soon, unless all passengers love durians. Most hotels in Malaysia don’t allow guests to bring durians into their rooms.

Who Loves Durian?

It is a pity that some people don’t like durian and describe it smells and tastes like shit (How do they know? They taste shit before?). Out of 20 wild durian species of Borneo, 12 are found in Sabah. In fact, most wildlife enjoys durian as a delicacy.

Orangutan likes durian, so does squirrel, mouse deer, hornbill, etc.

No kidding, I was told many times that durian is the favorite fruit of Clouded Leopard. I’m not sure if it loves cheese burger though.

The durian thorns can’t stop elephant from eating the fruit. The elephant will roll the durian again and again on the leaves, until the spiny husk is covered by leaves, then it just swallows the whole fruit!

Even animals know durian is good stuff, so what are you waiting for? Happy Durian Hunting! 🙂

Photos taken in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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Rumbia Information Center, all about Sago
Giant Grouper, the ultimate seafood of Sabah
Desa Dairy Farm in Mesilau, Little New Zealand of Sabah
Mt. Kinabalu Botanical Garden of Kinabalu Park