We’ve all seen the more boring ways to open a durian; stick a knife in at the top and twist, or if that doesn’t work hack or saw it open.
But what do you do when for whatever reason, you don’t have a knife? There’s no need to go hungry, I promise. And you don’t have to be as desperate as one Malaysian durian lover who attempted to squish the durian open by rolling over it with his car. Here are seven creative and obvious ways people have figured out how to NOT use a knife.
Obviously, the most manly, badass thing to do is simply dig in with your fingers and yank the durian apart. It’s the fruit-lovers equivalent of the “crush the can” move. However, most durians outside of Thailand have incredibly tough, thick rinds and terribly sharp thorns, so unless you feel like being stupidly macho, your hands are probably not your best option.
Downside: You may both embarrass yourself and puncture your fingers
2. Wooden Durian Opener
Okay it’s basically a knife, but unlike a knife you can take it in your carry-on luggage. I was given this handheld durian opener by Eddie Tews, a fellow durian fanatic who runs the blog The Durian Apocolypse. He bought it at a market in Penang, Malaysia, but ceded it to me as the more obsessed. It fits great in a purse or pocket and is pretty child-proof.
Downside: Some durians are too tough for this to work well.
Price: 7 RM
3. Durian Invention #1: The Pry
This is an invention by Eddie Yong, owner of Raub Durian Orchard in Malaysia. It comprises of a metal stand with several different sizes of rings, to fit any sized durian, and a set of essentially pliers with long handles. Eddie demonstrated by setting the durian in the appropriate ring and piercing the bottom center of the durian with the sharp end of the pliers. He then opens the handles, prising the durian apart.
Downside: Not very easy on the back.
Price: 100 RM at Raub Durian Orchard
4. Durian Invention #2: The Press
Lim Kok Leon, a Penang durian grower and creator of durian perfume, is
the mastermind behind this stainless steel contraption. He claims to
have invented it in the early 1990’s, when he was the “Durian King”
of Malaysia. In 2000, his invention was used at the opening of the 2003
Malaysian film, The Big Durian, at which several thousand durians
were served. For security reasons, knives were not allowed. It is one
of the easiest ways to get a durian open, and neatly divides even the
most stubbornly sealed fruit.We have since seen other versions of this machine, but are backing Mr. Lim as the original designer.
Downside: Can sometimes squash the pulp, making for a messy meal.
Price: Currently not for sale
6. A Rock
Okay it’s not rocket science, but it
works on the same principle as The Press. Basically, if a durian is ripe
it most likely will have weakened seams that meet at the bottom point.
With enough force, the seams will pop open and wha-la, you have a durian
feast. This is at least the theory – not all durians are so easy. Rob
and I have also successfully used chair legs and even coconuts to crack
open a durian.
Downside: Big rocks are not always easy to find
6. Your Feet
At times, Rob and I have wandered across durian orchards when we didn’t have a knife. Rather than sit and mope, I tried jumping on the durians. It seemed to work quite well. The trick is to actually stand on the durian, using a tree or your friend’s shoulders for balance, bend your knees, and jump lightly up and down.
Downside: Footwear required (careful with sandals); doesn’t always work.
7. Throwing It
When all else fails, throw a small temper tantrum about it and slam that durian at the ground. If gravity can open a durian, so can you.
Downside: None really
Price: Your safety and the safety of those around you