Seven Ways to Open a Durian Without a Knife

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.

1. Bare Hands

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
Price: Free

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

Mr. 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
Price: Free


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.
Price: Free

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

What's your favorite way to open a durian?


  1. Great job!!
    In the army days, we used to:
    1. Keys
    2. Put in a sand bag and slam!
    3. Slam Romeo the ground rom the top of the Truck
    4. Put it behind the Truck rear tire and reverse
    5. Slam it with the rifle butt

    Keep up the good work guys! You are amazing!
    Regards, Tommy

    1. Thanks Tommy! Haha, those are great ways!

  2. Surely you've seen this from Portlandia by now:

  3. Hey Sami! Thanks for the reminder. I watched this awhile ago but forgot about it. I've been meaning to do a post and add it to our "durian in the arts" section :D

  4. Hi, really I enjoyed while reading your articles on Durian. You have very exciting way to describe the things.
    When I buy Durian I do not allow to seller to open it to me. I like to open it by my self as a challenge. I used to use the key to open it, sure for the first ten times I hurt my self but now am able to open it with key.
    Thanks for your articles and please keep provide us with new information.


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