rode the water-taxi to Nonthaburi. Located an easy 45 minutes hop up the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok, it’s hard to believe that Thailand’s most renown, and most
expensive, durians are grown only 20 kilometers north of its biggest
|The long stems of the Ganyao are wrapped in banana leaves|
The orchards in Nonthaburi are some of Thailand’s oldest, many founded during the Atthaya period from 1350 to 1767. Old trees are a good thing – they tend to produce sweeter, fleshier fruits with smaller seeds and thinner rinds. During that time period, the kings loved durian so much that owners of durian trees were required by law to replace any durian trees that died. Thailand’s most well known varieties, including Monthong, Ganyao, and Chanee, were all developed in the Nonthaburi region, where pressure from the king inspired horticulturalists to breed fleshier and sweeter durian. These varieties have since spread to all corners of the kingdom, but Nonthaburi is still said to have the best durian in all of Thailand. If you can afford a taste.
The flooding even affected our little durian-hunt up the river. For the last three years, the Central Plaza Ratthanatibet has hosted a two week long durian festival celebrating the Nonthaburi’s special durians. We arrived, hoping to steal a glance at what a $300 fruit looks like. Unfortunately this year’s festival was canceled due to flooding last November, which put a knock on the already dwindling supplies.
What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a durian? Was it worth it?