The Unusual Orange & Red Durians in Sabah, Borneo

red durian

If you’re a fan of durian, this might just make you go insane. We’re all aware that durian is yellow—the darker it is, the sweeter it tastes. But do you know that in Sabah, Borneo, durian also comes in the shades of red and orange? In the year end, also the fruiting season in Sabah, durian is everywhere! Besides the ordinary durians, people are more interested in two special breeds of Sabah durians, the Durian Sukang (Red Durian) and Durian Dalit (Orange Durian).

The commercially-planted durian fruit is big and has thick layer of sweet yellow flesh. In contrast, though creamy as well, the red and orange fruits are just palm-sized with thin and slightly bland flesh. However, their scent is strong and distinctive, like fermented wine. The taste and flavor of red durian is twice as strong as orange durian. Some says you would get a bit ‘drunken’ if you eat too many red durian.

Being wild species, so you won’t see them often in city markets. You have to look for them in local markets of rural or suburban areas of Sabah. Like most durians, the orange-fleshed durian falls to the forest floor when ripe. The red-fleshed one doesn’t. The durian remains attached to the high tree as the fruit opens and drops the flesh and seeds onto the ground. Hard to get and must be picked at the right timing, the red durian is sold more, faster and more expensive than the orange durian.

Feeling tempted? Check out our inspiring journeys to Borneo and more trips across 10 Asian countries.

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