Red coloured durian – only in Sabah…

Red durianI received an email from my good friend, Cikgu Ismail yesterday. He attached few photos on the interesting things that he found in Sabah, and not found anywhere else, especially from the Peninsular Malaysia. One of the photo that he emailed me was a red coloured durian – which currently claimed to be found ONLY in Sabah (correct me if I am wrong).

Durian, or the scientific name is Durio zibethinus, is widely known and revered in Southeast Asia as the “King of Fruits,” the fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and a formidable thorn-covered husk. Its name comes from the Malay word duri (thorn) together with Malay suffix that is -an (for building a noun in Malay), meaning “thorny fruit.”

The fruit can grow up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lbs). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on species. The hard outer husk is covered with sharp, prickly thorns, while the edible custard-like flesh within emits the strong, distinctive odour, which is regarded as either fragrant or overpowering and offensive. The taste of the flesh has been described as nutty and sweet.

The durian smell…
Quoted from Richard Sterling, a travel and food writer, said:
… its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia.

You can be fine with durian!Well, as I am a local Malaysian, I don’t think could agree with him. And I don’t think that it smells like pig-shit. Anyway, don’t forget to try one when you are here. If you can’t get hold of the red coloured one (usually available almost all around Sabah), try the original cream coloured one. You can get it almost from anywhere in Malaysia.

Good luck!


This entry was posted in Discover Sabah on by .

About drizad

A self employed General Practitioner who lives with his lovely family in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. He dedicates his spare time serving people with precious information on climbing the Majestic Mountain of the Borneo, Mt Kinabalu. Reachable at drizad(at)

63 thoughts on “Red coloured durian – only in Sabah…

  1. Al

    Wow, real RED durians ? Love to taste it. Love love it. I was born in Borneo, Indonesia. My grandmother has durian farm so I naturally love durians with whatever smell it brings lol.

    Would visit your part of the world of RED durian tasting. Is that genetically modified though ? I am health conscious so that’s why I am picky what I eat. I am also a vegetarian so eating lots of fruits are my eating habits. Durians have medicinal properties apparently, I have written some about it, it is a great body/brain relaxer !!!

    If anybody has tasted RED durian, please let me know on my website, share your photos if you can too. I love the sign about no durians lol, so funny.

  2. Rajesh Kumar


    I’m interested in this and likes durian. I wish to know where & how I get the seeds or baby plant of red and yellow durian., I’m from puchong Kualalampur…..hope anyone message me in this regard…

  3. Ruben

    I have several fruit-bearing durian in my farm in Southern Philippines. They are of the usual yellow or pale yellow flesh varieties. The red durian (dahit in Sabah) is something else. Mohamed says this exists also in Davao, in central Mindanao. Wish I could see and taste one.

  4. Kim fah

    I LOOOOOVE DURIAN!!!! People here in Switzerland say it stinks (I once smuggled one from Singapore to Zurich.. :-)). I packed it reeeal well but when we landed it started to smell and everybody was wondering what this was and relieved to get out of the plane.. Me too but because I couldn’t wait to eat it… :-)) Funny thing is that I also love Cempadak or Jackfruit but I’m allergic to it.. My son loves both too..

  5. Alyza Villanueva



    I am Alyza Villanueva from philippines and I was facinated by your red durian adventure. I wondered if I can ask you to send me some seeds for may garden? Or were can I buy it?

    I would really appreciate your response.

    Thank You.

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  8. penyufly

    Everything judged by its or their very own smells even the human body odours thanks to Odor-no fumes.Most certainly true.The Malay sayings,different field different grasshopper,different people different taste.Durio-Zebetino naturally has the strongest smells of all fruits ever known thus lies the most delicious tastes unable to explain by words for a single bite of the red durian flesh is just enough to stirr-up both of your ears….

  9. ageratum

    The red colored durian (durio dulcis) also found in Brunei , and Balikpapan, Kutai, Banjarmasin in Indonesia (almost Kalimantan Island).

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