The Durians of Brunei (with polls)

I don’t think I told you. Keith’s been out of town all week so my mom’s been helping me and Ava pass the time. An extended pajama party, really. We’ve been to the water park, played with dollies, cooked, cleaned, torn apart my closets and made mounds of donations. We’ve been really busy and had tons of fun, but today I’m just counting the hours until I see my sweetie. He’ll be home at five. Tick. Tick. Tick. Is it five yet?

What are you counting down to? Help pass a little time with these fun facts (and poll) from Brunei.

Happy Friday!

Durian. Photo courtesy of Yun Huang Yong

Brunei Fun Facts:

  • Brunei is in both the northern and western hemispheres. I guess that technically makes Brunei a country with “food around the world” within its own borders. 😀
  • Relative humidity is high throughout the year, averaging 93%. That’s so humid, it might as well rain!
  • Food is passed and eaten with the right hand only. The left hand is considered unclean. One exception – when holding a heavy plate with the right hand, the left hand can be used to support the right wrist.
  • Shoes are traditionally removed before entering the home.
  • Brunei agriculture includes rice, vegetables, tropical fruit such as bananas, papayas, watermelon. They also raise chicken.
  • A variety of less common fruit is also grown, such as the Durian and Rambutan.
  • The Durian has been described as tasting like vomit, sewage, turpentine, and roasted almond. It just depends on the fruit you pick. This unusual specimen is added to candies, desserts, rice, and soups. The thick, woody husk is even used to smoke fish.
  • Rambutan means hairy fruit and, indeed, it is. The red and green, hairy exterior hides a creamy white or pink interior – sweet and a little acidic. Be careful with the seed. It is poisonous unless cooked.
  • Alcohol is not permitted in Brunei.

Rambutan. Photo Courtesy of David Ansley


  1. I had a bit of Durian in Singapore. They said it’s like cucumber in that it makes you feel cooler.

    • and no-one’s ever said it tastes like vomit, etc. The SMELL is what’s bad (though I like it), once you plate it and put it in your mouth the bad smell disappears and it tastes wonderful.

  2. This is the second country in a row where you have inexplicably missed the opportunity to have a cannibal feast!! The Iban, who are about 3% of the population are a branch of the Dayaks and 100 years ago they were famous headhunters and they were reputed not to waste the rest of the body. Ditto for some Brazilian peoples of the deep Amazon jungles.

    • globaltable says

      Oh, Brain. I mean Brian. You always have the best ideas. I should have definitely had a cannibal feast. What was I thinking?! 😀

  3. There are signs in the hotels in Thailand that say no Durian allowed in rooms. It smells that bad. The first time I smelled it was in Hong Kong and I kept looking at the bottom of my shoe to see what I had stepped in. I was then told the people about 25 feet away were eating Durian. I never had the nerve to try it while I was there but found some Durian chips at the Asian Market and decided to try them. Without the smell, the taste was very good.

    • globaltable says

      Ha ha – I can just see it now – checking your feet. Must be so incredibly potent. I would like to try it just because I can’t imagine something that stinky that could actually be tasty. Except, maybe, blue cheese or camembert, but it doesn’t even sound like a competition 😉

      • I have never seen a cheese that could compete with Durian for smell. I got the chips at the Asian Market on 31st and 129th.

        • Linda, while I’ve never seen the durian chips at Nam hai, I have seen whole durian fruit. It smelled a bit, and they had it in the back, but this was last year. I haven’t been back in several weeks and I so wanted to pick it up but lacked the courage to do so. After seeing Andrew Zimmeran from Bizarre Foods make a horrible face, I really cannot expect to enjoy the thing.

  4. Durian is really something that I never had the guts to try.
    I can smell it coming up from the street when I go to the Asian store. Strong stuff… But a lot of people love it, so maybe one day,I will just have to “suck it up” and try some!

    • Marry says

      I use it eat durian chilled all the time as a child, but the moment I had it warm on a hot day in my grandmother’s village I just couldn’t eat it. I haven’t had any in over 7 years now. Can’t stand the stuff anymore.

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