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Durian (du_yin)

 

Durian is characterized by its extraordinary smell which has been described as "stale cheese and onions flavoured with turpentine", "custard and almond mixed with sherry" or, worst of all, "as a mixture of condensed milk and rotting fish". The durian, indigenous to Malaysia, is cultivated in southern Myanmar regions, Mon State and Taninthari Divisions.

The durian's appearance is as characteristic as its smell. It is a large round or ovoid fruit up to 25 cm long and 20 cm in diameter and may reach a weight of 5 kg. Its green skin is covered with an amour of thickly-set, sharp-pointed spikes about 1.5 cm long.

Within the thick skin, the durian is divided into 5 sections, each containing several large brown seeds surrounded by yellowish-white creamy aromatic pulp. The fresh, ripe pulp is usually eaten fresh or processed into cakes, cookies and ice cream.

Boiled seeds can be eaten as a snack and young shoots and unripe fruits may be cooked as greens. Dried fruit rind is used as fuel, in particular to smoke fish, and several parts are used medically. It contains a high percentage of, water, carbohydrate, phosphorous and Ascorbic acid.