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!


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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. dott-com that real durian..never see it before in peninsular malaysia. who ever taste the durian, what the taste look like…

  2. drizad


    IT IS A REAL DURIAN! And the photo was taken here in Beaufort, south of Kota Kinabalu.

    I never taste it, but will do soon.

  3. Leongwk


    The red colour durian can be found at Kelantan State, Kuala Krai district.
    The thorn is a bit longer than the normal durian. Usual called as Durian Hutan, sale by the local natives during the season.

  4. QuaChee

    durians like any other food – eg. cheese, blue cheese etc have its own fans and nons.

    funny some ppl like blue cheese but cant stand durians.

    agree with you, durians are nice 🙂

  5. aeron

    never tasted a red one… im pretty sure it tastes the same as the normal ones… and i like blue cheese… that smells like cow dung as oppose to pig shit!!!

  6. miea ash

    holy cow… whoever says that durian smells like pigshit or a combination of gym socks, tupentine, etc., is totally a liar. yes, it’s true that durian is not for everyone but it CERTAINLY doesn’t smell like gym socks.

  7. KakiAyam

    drizad, do post some photos on other wierd fruits not found in peninsular. will try it next year when i am in sabah again…

  8. SuperCourier

    A Filipina from Mindinao told me that they too grew up with red durian, and like many fruits there, (jackfruit, for example)they picked it before it was ripe and stewed it as a vegetable.

    Ironically, my Filipina wife can’t stand the stuff but I, an American, love it to the point of addiction. Would love to find a red one,though.

  9. Sue

    Hie Drizad,

    That’s a wonderful delicious looking durian there. And I have not tasted it so far and so vibrant red too.
    It must be better than the normal yellow pulp ones.

    How’s the taste and price like? Is it available in the peninsular?

    Simply amazed,


    p.s. Could I link this site to my social website. A friend curious to know 🙂

  10. drizad Post author

    @ Sue:

    Taste & price? I am not really sure, as I have never had one. So far, I have never seen it in Peninsular Malaysia.

    p.s. Sure do. Spread the love around… 😉

  11. chin

    The red durian locally dahit, has many variation of color, and taste. In my dusun, I have three fruit bearing dahit trees, with three different hues – from crimson red to dark orange, fro msweet taste to bitter sweet taste.

    No the taste is unlike the normal durian, i nwhich one could get a feeling of being stuffed when having one tooo many. Dahit – no you just get a nice filled stomach feel. No heady sensation too.

    Theres some good mention about the color compound in fruits, such as the reds in carrot, and by my own extension the red durian. Apparently they are good helath formative compound, very much why doctors almost always recommend fruits for health [ ok for its fibre, too].

  12. Pilou

    I’m French, having home in thailand…
    It would be interesting to have this fruit in my garden… who can send me some seeds ?

  13. bell

    i juz ate it this morning…i realy crazy bout wild durians..many types of colours..i bought it at miri market..actually it also can be found in sarawak…indonesia too..only in Borneo..coz my great grandparent planted it long time ago…hehehe

  14. drizad Post author

    @ Pilou:

    I can, but I don’t know whether I could find the seeds. I am actually still looking for it here in KK. Maybe need to find it from the southern part of Sabah. I will contact you if I found one.

  15. cornelius

    Aha..durian merah. Good info on this one. I’ve been wondering if other people know about this ‘durian merah’ .

    This is one of my favourite fruits. It doesn’t taste like the normal durians or smell like the normal durians that can cause people to secrete saliva in anticipation of the ‘durians’. I think that it’s the smell that triggers such effect.:-) haha

    It taste better if made into ‘tempoyak’.In my ‘kampong’ , red durian is fried with onions and chilli and served as a side dish. Sometimes when the ‘durian merah’ was served, I am contented to have just the rice and the durian merah as my main dish. (Just mixed it with your rice and you will have a nice, unique meal).

  16. Timothy

    This is such an interesting species! Red durian is “durio graveolens.”

    Let me know if I might be able to buy seeds from you! I’ve been looking for these to try growing here.

    Excellent pic!

  17. piko

    maaf yaa.. teman teman di malaysia…., durian merah nya nggak cuma ada di kinabalu ajaah lho…., tapi di indonesia juga…. di provinsi kalimantan selatan buah durian merah banyak tuh di hutan…masyarakat sini menyebut tu buah lahong …….. 🙂 , sayang saya nggak punya foto na heheheh. TQ yaaa

  18. Muhammad Al-hakim bin sayed nasir

    Cikgu Ismail, saya rasa nak komen pasal durian merah.

    Saya rasakan durian merah itu boleh dimakan. Kalaulah mulut
    saya &cikgu berbau, tolonglah ajak saya pergi ke gunung Kinabalu dengan segera supaya saya menikmati gunung Kinabalu dengan nyaman.

    Yang Ikhlas,
    Muhd Al-hakim Bin sayed Nasir,
    Pelajar SMK Kelapa Sawit

  19. Raul Gonzalez

    Hi, Im a rare fruit collector from Mexico looking to buy or trade for another seeds, 6-10 seeds of red durian,trough regular mail,
    Thanks, Raul

  20. Ak

    Durian is simply tasty exotic fruit,one of the best in world,I come from East Africa,Tanzania(presently living in Canada)back there on the Island of Zanzibar grow durian,the only country in Africa, I guess,have been eating since was kid and doing so till now(tho I get durian from Thai and malay here in Canada

  21. bambangiswanto

    durian merah aneh benar, sebab saya penggemar durian di Indonesia durian bermacam-macam tetapi yang merah benar belum aku temuai tetapi saya penggemar durian suatu hari apabila saya datang ke sabah-Malaysia saya ingin sekali mencicipi durian yang fantastic ini, tetapi di Indonesia ada durian kesukaanku durian ini namanya durian hijau dari Jepara tetapi walaupun kulit dan buahnya mengandung warna hijau tetapi sangat enak sekali.

  22. Aedy

    well, the red colored durian is indeed quite well known in sabah, and the local term for it is ‘dahit’. It’s different from the normal durian whereby the thorns are longer and sharper. The taste and smell are not as strong as the normal durian hence for those who are used to eating normal durian might find ‘dahit’ bland.

  23. chionga

    I taste it before but it’s different color.. yellow and a bit orange.. it’s really bland and i dont like it.. never seen red colored.. My uncle say Santubong Sarawak also have red flesh durian.. i prefer durian..

  24. Giovanni

    Selamat Hsian, I am visiting Sandakan now and I am told in KK that now it is not musin for red durian. Ahioi! Any idea if itis true or not? Where to find red durias now here or around? I will be here 3 more days only, can you please direct me? Thank you, Giovanni

  25. JadeDragon loves Sabah

    I’ve been to Sabah a few times now and I’ve never seen the red variety. Interesting. It might be because I can’t stand the smell of durin. I would not go so far as to say it smells of pig shit though.

  26. Mohamed

    Hi All, for everyone’s knowledge the red flesh durians can also be found in one of the islands of Philippines which is called ‘Davao’.

  27. Arhlim

    Hi Drizad. Your blog and articles are very interesting. May I have your permission to add your photo and link it to Durianon site? Thank you. Lim from Durianon

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