The Penang Durian Guide


To help you, dear Durian Lover, become a true durian connoisseur of Penang’s many delicious and diverse durians.

  • Identification guide to over 25 Penang Durian Varieties
  • Vivid full-color photos and engaging stories about durian people and places
  • Descriptions of durian farms, farmstays, and stalls to visit
  • Tips for choosing good durian and avoiding bad durian

Pre-order The Penang Durian Guide for $9 off regular normal pricing: (ships from Malaysia)

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I already know you love durian. You have enough enthusiasm for durian to have decided to read about it on the internet, and so stumbled across this durian-obsessive website. Crazy it exists right? Now you’re realizing that there is an entire book all about traveling to the Island of Penang in Malaysia just to eat durian.

Doesn’t the world feel both a little bit more absurd and a little bit more awesome?

You’re welcome.

The Penang Durian Guide Mission:

This book is not just a travel guide or an eating guide. Yes, it will help you visit durian farms and durian stalls in Penang. It will teach you how to identify more than 25 different varieties of durian. It will show you how to choose good durian and avoid the bad. But that is not this book’s mission.

The mission of The Penang Durian Guide is to turn you into a durian connoisseur. A connoisseur cares about the whole story. Flavor is the story of a place and it’s people and history. Through eating delectable, delicious durian, I want you to get to know and to love Penang as a place as intimately as I have over these last 7 years.

I hope you you use this book for the good of your tummy, your mind, your friendships, and just maybe the world.

What’s Inside This Book:

The Penang Durian Guide is organized into 7 convenient chapters for all your durian-munching needs. Here’s a look at the Table of Contents:

  • Introducing Penang
    • Getting To and Around Penang
    • Where To Stay and Durian Farmstays
    • Sample 4-Day Durian Itinerary
    • A Durian History
  • Buying Durian
    • When To Go For Penang Durian Season
    • Guide to Off-Season Durian
    • Where To Buy Durian
    • How To Buy Durian
      • Step By Step at a Durian Stall
      • When to Reject Durian
      • When to Buy Pre-Packaged Durian
      • How to take Durian Home
  • Tasting Durian 
    • Why Durian Tastes Like Durian (Science Stuff)
    • Why Old Tree Matters
    • Terroir of Penang
  • Choosing Durian
    • Choosing Good Durian
    • Avoiding Bad Durian
    • Varieties By Flavor and Texture
  • Identifying Durians
    • Durian Hunter’s Checklist
    • How to Identify Different Varieties
    • The Durian Field Guide (26 Durian Varieties)
  • Finding Durian: Stalls and Farms
    • George Town Durian Stalls and Walking Tour
    • The Middle: Air Itam to Balik Pulau
    • The Northwest: Batu Ferringhi to Balik Pulau
    • The South: Bayan Lepas to Kampung Genting
    • The Mainland: Seberang Perai
  • Durian Cuisine
  • Acknowedgments 
  • Citations and References

Sample Pages 

Click here to view a more pages from this book. All material is copyright of Year of the Durian.


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Dimensions 5.3 x 8.52 x 1.3 in
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  1. If the photos *alone* in Ms. Lindsay Gasik’s latest paean to obsession don’t make you want to drop everything you’re doing, skedaddle your dimpled ass straight to Pulau Penang without passing “Go”, and execute a 24/7 stakeout over half a dozen orchards (for starters), then…you may require the services of a specialist. And should said photos fail to garner a Pulitzer nomination, then, shame on the goddang committee!

    While the photos provide the salivating impetus, the text brings in the logistics, the faces, the places, and the histories behind more less every Durian variety, every roadside stall, every farm the island has to offer — along with lessons from mainland Penang as well. This guide — much like her previous work for the entirety of Thailand’s Durianage — is so thoroughly researched, collated, and spindled it’s a wonder it didn’t take four *decades* to write, rather than four years. No stone has gone unturned, to say the least.

    Just imagine if there were a hundred Lindsay clones running around cranking out users’ manuals to all of our favourite fruits — what a wonderful and beautiful world we would then be inhabiting ourselves in, ain’t it? Until then, we’ve got the O.G. Lindsay giving us the goods as only she can for the only fruit that REALLY matters — and, this time, from the place it matters the most. She’s a International Treasure™, so make sure treat her right and purchase a copy of this book — it’s the very, very least any of us could do.

    Two thumbs up, way up — and the most appreciative of congrats.

  2. I have been following Lindsay’s incredible life-journey since 2012, when I fell upon the “Year of the Durian” website. During this period she has been expanding her experiences and knowledge in the “durian world” as well as Southeast Asia and its peoples. All the while, she has been evolving as a writer, a professional tour-organizer, a durian and Malaysia expert, and most importantly, as a person and world-citizen, who considers Asia as her home.

    Now, with her impressive, thorough, definitive book about all things durian, which as far as I know is the only one in the English language, she shares with all of us, not just the world of the king of fruits, but even the larger world in which it is immersed – Malaysia and its history, cultivation methods and seasonal influences, the geography and topography in which everything happens, and much more. The book is an encyclopedia of durian, a travel guide for the durian lover, a collection of many obscure and hidden facts that she has painstakingly compiled from many sources, and a complete catalogue of all durian types – the colorful and much more interesting equivalent of Mendeleev’s periodic table of chemical elements!

    Whether you already love durian or aspire to love it, or whether you are indifferent or even hate it (especially the latter), the “Durian Tourist’s Guide” is a book you will enjoy from start to finish. As for its mouth-watering photos, feasting on them is the the second-best thing after eating durian! Loved it.

    Nicos Hadjicostis

  3. This book reminds me of a Grimms’ fairy tale in which a princess wanders off into an enchanted forest in search of a fabled golden fruit. Fortunately for the durian lover and nascent durian lover and straight-off curious traveler, she turns out to be an amazingly intrepid, and judging by the book, somewhat lovable, explorer. How else to explain Lindsay’s unqualified success in transforming from an out-and-out ignorant quai lo (foreigner), to a celebrity mat salleh (white person) durian expert in a foreign land.

    In Lindsay Gasik’s Penang Durian Guide, we have a lively, highly readable and information packed tome on durians chock full with gorgeous pictures of (or is it pictures of gorgeous) durians? It is stylishly written with gentle wit and is clearly guided by the love of the durian fruit as well as a more-than-passing bond with this little island and its durian denizens.

    What now seems like eons ago, I scratched the tip of the iceberg when I learnt a little about durians while attending college at the sole agriculture-focused Malaysian university. Lindsay has in this book revealed with relish just how big that durian iceberg actually is. So if you, like me, love durians and have always wanted more than a superficial grasp of this fruit, this is the mother lode of information. Systematically, she shares her expertise on the various types of durians, where they can be found and bought on the streets of Penang or straight from the farm, and regales us with stories of how the different cultivar or varieties came about. In the process, you also get a traveler’s guide to the island of Penang, with gems of info on how to get around and where to stay (complete with phone numbers and even GPS coordinates). There is even a bonus section on the mainland portion of Penang and its sources of durians.

    What to buy, where to buy it, when it is actually available, how to get it. These are questions for the novice as well as seasoned durian lovers, and they are most ably answered by Lindsay in her book. Get it in print or digital format and you’ll be oh-so-well prepared. Truly a book and a fable-come-true to be thankful for.

  4. Whether your experience with durian is connoisseur-level or drank-it-in-a-smoothie-once, this book will allow you to approach piles of previously indistinguishable durian as an expert who is capable of discerning types, ripeness, subtle flavors, and even tree age. You’ll be confident in your ability to find and select not just the ‘best’ durian, but the durian that is best for your tastes and preferences.

    One of the most difficult parts about eating adventurously is not knowing the cultural norms and history surrounding what you’re eating, which leaves you vulnerable to embarrassing mishaps and potentially offensive faux pas. This book removes that risk, walking you through exactly what it’s like to order durian at farmstays, shops, roadside stalls, and the backs of trucks, and how and when to return a bad durian.

    The plentiful pictures allow you to visualize exactly what going on a durian adventure will look like, not to mention get you salivating and counting the days until the next durian season!

  5. The most comprehensive guide on durian in Penang that will probably ever be written. An invaluable resource for anyone who wants to experience one of the most beautiful places in South East Asia and THE best durian in the world. You can tell Lindsay has really put a lot of work into finding and organizing all this information. Who better to get this knowledge from than the person who has dedicated her life to the pursuit?

    This guide is for beginners and experts alike. There is a wealth of info, tips, advice and stories that will benefit everyone. It’s worth it for the photos alone. DO NOT READ ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!

  6. This book is absolutely essential if you plan to eat durian in Penang or just want to learn more about durian generally. Here are just a few of the many questions this book helps answer:
    1) How do you select the tastiest durian? What are signs of freshness? What aromas should you be smelling?
    2) What’s the etiquette at durian stalls? When can you send durian back?
    3) How do you identify [insert durian variety]?
    4) Where are the best places to eat durian in Penang?
    5) When should you visit Penang for durian?

    This book easily pays for itself after a single durian session, as you’ll be better equipped to find the best places to buy durian, make sure you’re not getting swindled, choose durian that will suit your tastes, and understand much more about the histories and intricacies of what you’re eating.

    Even if you’re already a durian connoisseur, this book is so much fun to read. The pictures of durian are absolutely gorgeous and mouth-watering, and I found the info on varieties of durian invaluable. There are multiple pictures of each kind of durian you’re likely to find in Penang as well as tasting notes. I wish that this book had existed several years ago when I first traveled to Penang!

  7. Absolutely brilliant. A pleasure to read and hugely enjoyable. Everything you need to know for your next visit to Penang in search of durians. I will definitely be carrying a copy with me when I’m there for the next durian season. A thoroughly comprehensive guide to all aspects of the fruit and a fascinating account of its history in Penang.

  8. I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. I thought I’ll just read a few pages during a break at work but I ended up reading the whole thing over the entire workday! I hope my boss doesn’t read this review somehow, or I’ll be out of a job.

    That’s how compelling her writing is. I wish my history teachers did half as a good a job, I’ll have had better grades. I’m learning so much from her research into Penang’s early days and I learned so many things I didn’t previously know, despite being a Malaysian. You can tell she spent many years doing research and compiling many beautiful photos for this book.

    I particularly enjoyed the section listing Penang’s famous durians and the strange stories/history behind them.

    Even seasoned durian buyers can find a tip or two in Linday’s book. She has probably eaten more durians in her life than all but the most hardcore local so leveraging on her experience would do you well. She lives and breathes durian – running tours, living on durian farms for months on end, and dedicating herself to the research of all things durian.

    I actually know Lindsay in real life and I’ve eaten durians many times with her. She has made Malaysia her home and her knowledge of durians is amazing! You’ll thoroughly enjoy this book if you’re into durians and you’ll be entertained even if you’re not.

  9. Lindsay is absolutely the worlds first and foremost expert on everything durian. This guide in particular is not only educational and will set you up for the BEST durian experience possible while visiting Penang, it is also filled with incredibly interesting stories about the different durians, their historic roots and the people who have cultivated them so lovingly over the decades. This book has something for every durian lover – from those wanting something super practical to those who want to increase their durian knowledge to those who love history and a good human interest story. Lindsay has left no stone unturned and will save you thousands of hours of research! Highly, highly recommend this work.

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