Celebrating the ‘King of Fruits’

Come join us in Port Dickson over four days, 6-9 July 2023!

Though durians are said to have originated from Borneo island, this ubiquitous  tree has since spread widely and can be found across Southeast Asia. Reference to the durian dates back centuries – but there is good reason why this thorny fruit never made it to the top of exotic items exported to the Middle East and beyond to Europe by early traders and later western colonizers.

Being a very pungent fruit – with unseasoned noses even comparing its very strong scent to skunk spray and rotting rubbish – the durian was never a hit with outsiders. Hence, while Southeast Asia became a much-sought-after source of enticing items like spices (with pepper being one of the most famous) and tropical fruits (like pineapples), the ‘King of Fruits’ stayed largely domestic.

All this changed dramatically in the Noughties (2000s) when China began to allow the import of frozen durian flesh and later fresh durians – letting its locals discover what only outbound travelers to Southeast Asia were able to enjoy before. With soaring demand from China, the price of durians skyrocketed and it soon became clear that the durian was finally able to claim the honor of its nickname to be the ‘King of Fruits’.

Why July 9?

Although durians are cultivated widely in four main nations – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand – fierce competition among these countries kept the promotion of durians largely focused on individual domestic populaces. Apart from China (plus Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), where tourism had attracted this fruits’ entry into these markets, durian exports remained focused on existing consumer bases of Singapore and Australia – where there are many resident Asians.

Because various durian promotions are fractured – with Thailand holding a durian festival in May, when this seasonal fruit supply just starts trickling in, to  regional farmer market sales promotions in Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines throughout June, July and August – the durian has never been fully celebrated for its majesty. Hence, news portal Cyber-RT has opted to consolidate this honor to a single date of July 9 – marking the peak of the summer season when this ‘King of Fruits’ is in plentiful supply.