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  • 3 min read

How to open durian


Throughout the year I taste, eat and experiment with a whole bunch of different durian types. This is partly because of my personal quest to find the perfect durian, and partly because it provides a great excuse to eat as much of it as I can. 

Whether you are eating the fruit raw or using it as an ingredient in your cooking, the flesh first must be removed from the husk. The prickly, thorny skin does make that task look rather daunting. Thankfully with the right approach and/or the right tools, getting through the thick protective skin to access to its delicious flesh is easier than thought.   


One common method can be seen in the 2022 movie, ‘The Man From Toronto’. The movie centers around a case of mistaken identity and stars Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson. In one scene Woody Harrelson who plays the assassin known as, ‘The Man from Toronto’, dons a protective glove and uses a long sharp knife to slice open the durian before taking out the pieces of fruit. The glove’s chainmail design is of course movie overkill, but knives are sharp, durians are spikey, so always open with care. 


A variant of this technique is the meat cleaver or Chinese chopper method. Like the knife method, first a shallow incision is made along the seam. Once an opening is created the shell can be pried apart with fingers. This method was recently executed with expert aplomb by Taiwanese singer Ella Chen when spending Chinese New Year in Melaka, Malaysia. Her skills can be seen on her Instagram video.

Bare hands

The technique seen least often uses nothing but bare hands. In this method the weak spot of the durian is targeted. Durians ripen from the bottom first, so it is possible to push down and through the bottom of the durian to find a natural split. Once this fault line is opened you work your way back from base to the stem. The base of the durian is usually a star or circle shape, or sometimes a black thorn. If the base is a little too firm, a more robust but rather primitive mechanical entry can be made by standing on the durian!

My favourite

My favourite method of opening a durian uses machinery. It doesn’t just make the job easier it also adds a layer of techy expectant indulgence. The devices on offer vary considerably in both complexity and price. Whatever your budget, if you invest in a machine, your durian ritual will have a new dimension that makes your king of fruit eating experience all the more memorable.