Simple. Fly or travel to Davao and upon arriving stuff your nose with the smell of durian. During the months of August – October, the air in Davao is perfumed with this fruit. It’s all over the place. From parks, to malls, to streets. It might be a stinking city for the uninitiated but for durian lovers, it is heaven.
When I stepped out of the plane from Iloilo, my nose was deliciously assaulted with the smell of durians. Sweet, diluted and faintly distinct but just enough to whet my appetite for this king of the fruits that it was also a factor in goading me to head out straight to Blugre to have their durian infused coffee as my visit’s appetizer. Every where I go, there were vendors along the sidewalk piling up their wares with prices per kilo at just P20 or P25!
Durian is just two things: either you hate and curse it or you love and crave and wax poetic about it. It can be a source of bitter sibling rivalry as you plot to have all to yourself the last piece of fruit cooling in the refrigerator.
There are a lot of varieties to chose from. Malagkit is native and many swear by its taste. Small, pale white and less flesh compared with the hybrids, its still a good alternative and quite cheap. Then there are the imported ones developed in Thailand. Chanee is popular but I just don’t like it. The fruit is oversized but lacks the creaminess and sweetness that I enjoy from the others. Of course, there’s D24 which I first tasted in Malaysia; Arancillo, which can sometimes be bitter sweet; puyat the best I’ve tasted and others that are too many to mention.
I’m not sure if the durian mystic is brought about by its reputation, heck, there’s even a saying:
When the durian falls, the skirts go up
It smells like hell, tastes like heaven
but when I first tasted it 11 years ago in this city, I wasn’t satisfied with just one. I ate two pieces of medium sized fruits. Either I was just so hungry or I was put into its deadly spell.
On my last day in Davao, I found myself at the Bangkerohan market buying mangosteen and pomelos that I need to bring back to Manila. I was still craving for durian, an effect of having found the bittersweet taste of the Arancillo I ate the previous night wanting. Can’t help with the fruit just being piled around the fruit stall, I ordered one medium sized durian. Had it split open, took my seat, tore open and gobbled and then licked my fingers and gobbled again the sweetest, creamiest tasting puyat durian I’ve tasted in my life.
This trip was made possible with my win in the Wandering Juan Travel Blog Awards, Culture and Heritage Category. Visit the official site.