How to eat durian in Cambodia
Durian, also know as stinky fruit or The King of fruits, is an eatable fruit of a certain species of tree in Asia. It’s famous for the strong odor, but also for it delicious creamy texture. In Cambodia you can buy durian at most local markets as well as from street vendors. Durian is usually farmed in Kampot, Kampng Cham and around Battambang. Many fruits are imported from Thailand and Vietnam as well.
Durian is different from jackfruit. The latter is a much bigger fruit with smaller spikes and a different, more sweeter taste. The prices depend on the season and quality. You can get them starting from 13.000 riel per kg (about $3.50) all the way up to 20.000 riel ($5). Most stalls have a fix price, although there is a small margin for bargaining.
Where to buy durian in Siem Reap?
Most people will direct you to the roundabout on Apsara road near the Sokha hotel. Many vendors have their cars lined up on the street. Most markets have stalls as well – just follow the smell. And that’s why supermarkets rarely sell it.
Can I take durian back to my hotel?
The simple answer is no. Hotels will not allow even locals to bring durian inside the premise or rooms. It’s also banned in buses and planes.
Where to eat it?
It is common to eat durian in the tuktuk on the way to Angkor Wat or other places to visit in Siem Reap. Cambodians know how to picknick, so they will just stop somewhere, sit in the shadow of a tree and enjoy durian and other fruits and food they bought on the way.
How to eat durian?
When you buy it on the street, ask the seller to open the fruit and take the eatable pieces out. They usually give you a box for it. Some sell the inner parts of the flesh (normally for a higher price). In the markets you may see them selling durian with sticky rice and coconut milk. There is also ice cream made from durian and dried durian chips.
When eating you may use plastic gloves of a fork. Once you have contact with your skin, the smell may stay for a while, even after washing your hands. Also be aware of the seed inside – it cannot be eaten raw. But you can bake them until soft.
The outside skin (the one with the spikes) can be used as traditional local medicine. They say it helps for the pain during a women’s period. The skin is dried and then boiled with water.