Durians @ Prickly Sensations

What the hell is that smell ? Durians ?  For those not from South East Asia, the fruit might be a little strange.

Its hard for me to describe whats its like if you do not know what it already is. But its instantly recognizable the moment you lay your eyes on it you or even being 10 feet near it.

A spiky thorny fruit with soft creamy flesh that drives millions crazy over in South East asia …… but that smell….. How do I even begin ? Ok, If you slap cream and butter on yourself and then not shower for a month….hmm…its not like that…. but you get the idea.

Hell, the thing was used in Fear Factor and even Andrew Zimmern, the host of Bizzare Foods can’t get it over with.(Skip to 3.05 mark) The man eats all kinds of bizzare stuffs from brains to spleens and he cannot handle “The Durian”.

I have however grown to love that smell. No, it is not no-shower-plus-butter, but the fascinating smell of durians. There is no return once you taste the flesh of the fruit…hate it or love it. J

So many different breeds (they call it cultivars), its confusing. They all look the same but the durian connoisseurs can tell the 50-100 different cultivars apart. Each with its own colour, own taste, own size/shape…heck maybe with its own thorn shapes, pyramid or flat or triangular ! I would not be surprise if each cultivar has its own patented smells……..

It is precisely this, that the average durian lover, gets cheated by not so honest durian sellers who pass off the cheaper breeds as the expensive ones.

Enter Prickly Sensations by Professor Tommy Lim. I call him Professor because he is a walking durian dictionary. Not only that, he monitors the durian stock index as well. He knows the prices of the different cultivars at different parts of the island at different times of the day……

630pm. Professor Tommy is anxiously waiting for all of us to arrive.  The man paces around his durians…seriously !

Tables and Chairs – Checked

Drinks – checked

Tissues – checked

No of cultivars – 8 types

He cannot wait to share his wealth of information with us. He even prepared notes for us on how to identify the more popular breeds and how to enjoy its taste and smell.

Believe it or not, there is a sequence in eating the different cultivars. And medical articles says no coke or beer with durians…they can kill you. Really ?

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Professor Tommy (right) with Ah Seng.

Ah Seng was the durian supplier for that day. The man has a cult following having started in Ghim Moh 25-30 years ago……Shall write about Ah Seng, but that’s another time.

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Tommy teaches us why some looks like that. Lack of proper nutrients and should be avoided.

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Single bedders (one seed in one compartment) like this are the best !!! Professor Tommy reckons all the nutrients goes to single bedders instead of the twin or triple !

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The Green Bambo Durian with its characteristic trait. The splitted line across the fruit.

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Tommy cannot describe his relationship with durians. He found no words. But for all of us there that night, it was clear what it is. His eyes sparkles every time he shows us a new cultivar. The nose twitches as he looks at them. He could not bear to step more than 3 meters away from where all the durians were. It is love. And I was pretty sure it was love at first sight dating way back to the 1970s.

All the participants were happy, overfed, satisfied with strong durian breaths.  It was a holiday and a few wanted to go have a few drinks after.

Professor Tommy wise words were “No beer or alcohol with durians, even if it does not kill you……you are not going to get lucky either with the ladies smelling like that :)”


P.S. I could not understand how under the radar Professor Tommy is, until i realized that he has a full time job.(yes, we all need to work, haha) but really its because of that and his family commitments. Thus he has been supplying information to various newspapers and bloggers. No time to do himself !!

If you need more information on Durians, contact Prickly Sensations !


  1. Choose the durians that you like to eat, after feasting those wonderful out-of-this-world meat, leave a tiny pocket of your stomach for – mix hot rice only or warm plain pulot (glutinous rice) and a little coconut santan, if you prefer, and with the choice of your durians. Then slowly, but surely, chew the mixture and down it with a warm drink. The sensation is that the aroma will linger longer than usual and then have a good night’s sleep. The next morning you will have a pleasant memory of one of the good things in life you have enjoyed.

    This was one of the memorable lunch/dinner in the seventies which my family treasured at one of the plantations in Kukup. Enjoy.

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