Kahwin Durian at Gadong Night Market (Pasar Malam Gadong) | Brunei

By 5 PM Bandar Segi Begawan, Brunei's downtown, is quiet.

The small daytime market has packed up. The sun is dipping low over the river, giving the golden dome of the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque a sort of halo effect that makes the serene and nearly deserted streets of downtown Brunei live up to it's name, the abode of peace.

The only place to go, if you want some night time action and durian, is Pasar Malam Gadong - the Gadong Night Market.

Ferry Layover at Labuan's Durian Market | Kota Kinabalu to Brunei By Boat

Labuan is not Sabah.

It's its own Malaysian territory 8 km off the coast of Sabah that comprises a main island and a tiny archipelago. From Kota Kinabalu it's about a three hour ferry journey, and after a short layover in Labuan you can ferry onward to Brunei for a total travel time of about 6 hours.

That beats the 8 hour bus ride, plus you get a 2 hour layover in the wholesome main city to eat a durian lunch.

Red Durian Tempoyak, a Traditional Dish From Sabah (Recipe Included) | Kota Kinabatangan

The bus from Ranau dropped Jess and me off at Medan Selera, a small food court in Kota Kinabatangan on the east coast of Sabah.

We immediately asked for Durian Merah, the red durian prolific to the area. The staff was shocked that Westerners had heard of their durian - and wanted it - but after exchanging giggles and grins one of the girls invited us to hop in her car and head to the local market.

That's where we found Sabah Tempoyak, a unique side dish made exclusively out of red durian.

What Is Tempoyak? | Recipes

If fresh durian is said to smell like putrid flesh, overripe armpits, and fermented gym socks, can you imagine what it smells like fermented? Or what it tastes like?

Fermented durian, or tempoyak, is a traditional condiment in Malaysia and Indonesia often mixed with coconut milk curries or pounded with chilies into a spicy dip.  It was developed as a way to both use overripe or poor quality durians and preserve them through the months after durian season.

And it's actually pretty tasty.

Durian Street in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

You know you've come to a good place when you ask for directions to the Central Market, and the answer is "Just across from Durian Street."

And they don't mean just a street named durian, because Rob and I have found those too. They mean an actual legitimate street lined with durian vendors. If you ever find yourself durian hungry in Kota Kinabalu, make your dinner plans here.

Pink Durian at KK's Central Market | Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Like most wet markets in Southeast Asia, Kota Kinabalu's Central Market is most active in the morning and has more or less closed up shop by sundown.

That's when the nearby night market takes over.

But on the late afternoon that Jess and I were walking by on our way to Kota Kinabalu's Durian Street (more on that in a future post), we happened to see one of my all time favorite durians - the deliciously pink Tenom Beauty.

*Please remember, all photos published on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Year of the Durian and Lindsay Gasik . If you want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!