RT Cunningham


Durian - The Most Odoriferous Fruit in the Philippines

durian I’ve eaten some strange things in the course of my 55 years of life. Some of those things I don’t care to remember. I will always remember the durian even though I’ve eaten very little of it.

I didn’t know what it was that I was smelling years ago because I didn’t get to see whatever it was that someone was eating. Recently, I learned that smell belonged to the durian fruit. The fruit itself doesn’t taste bad, but the odor is strong and pungent. It kind of reminds me of rotten onions.

The Durian Grows in Mindanao

My daughter-in-law, Cathy, went to Mindanao for about three weeks in July. When she returned, she brought some durian in a sealed Styrofoam container back with her. Even though she sealed it well enough, I could still smell the fruit.

Cathy’s family lives on Mindanao, arguably the largest island in the Philippines. From what I understand, that fruit only grows on that island. From what I also understand, it’s not a native fruit. Someone imported it from Malaysia or somewhere else a long time ago.

I was going to write about this at the beginning of the month but I got distracted. That is, until Jared Martin wrote about it at

The Odor that Remains

Cathy put the container in the refrigerator. Every time someone opened the refrigerator, that smell would permeate the entire house. Except for the bedrooms, of course, because the doors usually stay closed.

The smell was odoriferous enough to infiltrate any in the refrigerator that wasn’t sealed, including open containers of water.

She finally tossed it out around the beginning of the month. The smell still lingers in various areas of the house. Or perhaps it’s the memory of the smell.

There are other food items in the Philippines with strong smells, including dried fish and bagoong alamang (fermented shrimp paste). None of their odors are as strong as the durian.

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By RT Cunningham
August 23, 2016
Food and Drink