In Medan we asked
every durian hawker we came across “Where are these durians from?” Without fail they replied, “Sidikalang!” A man explained to me that in villages like Sidikalang everyone has a durian tree. There
are durian trees all along the roadsides and many people sell durian in their
front yards. It sounded picturesque and
relaxing. So after our somewhat disappointing trip to Bukit Lawang, we decided
to get down to business and head to the source.
|18-year-olds Dedi (right) and Kaleb (middle) deliver durian after school|
On arriving in
Sidikalang, I was elated to see several durian sellers on the street corners.
But I didn’t see any durian trees. It was not the sleepy village I had imagined
either. In fact, Sidikalang looked a lot like a side street in Medan – a jumble
of restaurants, crooked sidewalks, run down store fronts and greasy mechanics,
all covered in a thick film of gray dust. I asked a few of the durian sellers
where in Sidikalang the durian was coming from. “Not Sidikalang durian,” they
replied – “Tinggalinga durian!” Based on our very scientific survey, Tinggalinga is a village
located precisely somewhere between 1km and 30 km away.
|sharing durian at the outdoor fruit market in Sidikalang|
And as it turns
out, it’s never durian season in Sidikalang. The altitude is too high for the
fruit, the city being located on the top of a mountain ridge. Sidikalang durian
comes from a variety of smaller villages ranging between 20 km and 60 km away,
primarily Parongil, Tinggalinga, Buntu Raja, Pardomuan, and Pardamean.
sell you Sidikalang durian in Medan, you’ll know better.