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What is the difference between Durian and Jackfruit?

durian vs jackfruit

Durian and Jackfruit, what are the differences and what do they have in common? When you travel to south-East Asia there is a hell of a lot “musts” on the culinary “to-do list”. In my opinion, Durian (in its many forms), and Jackfruit are two that should very much be on your list.

So in the Durian vs Jackfruit debate, what are the differences, what are the similarities and in a little bit of an Apple vs Oranges taste taste, which is the superior fruit?

Durian Jackfruit

Durian vs Jackfruit. To kickoff whilst a Durian and a Jackfruit look almost interchangeable to the untrained eye, they are in fact very, very, very different. This is from a taste, feel and very much an aromatic sense.

Durian and Jackfruit

The durian is a famously pungent fruit, that is famously banned from many public places in South-East Asia (due to said smell). Inside the big husk of durian fruit is yellow seeds encased in an almost custard-like sweet mixture, that is sucked from the seeds.

Where is the best durian?

Where the best durian comes from is anyone’s guess, but my friends in Padawan told me theirs was, and I see no reason for them to lie. Most people have a love-hate relationship with Durian, westerns, in general, do not like it, but enough with the broad racial stereotypes! If you do manage to find a love of durian, you will find all manner of durian products from ice-cream to candy and even the (surprisingly good) durian pizza.

There are numerous videos about how to correctly open a durian, and even how long it should be left on the ground before eating it. Again my best durian moment was in Borneo eating a freshly fallen one, cut open with a knife and washed down with moonshine. Happy memories indeed!

durian and jackfruit
Jackfruit

Where is the best durian in Cambodia?

This is a fairly easy one to answer and indeed a place that I recently visited. Kampot is known as the Durian city and they love it so much that on the roundabout in the centre they have a big durian that you can take pictures of – see below.

Durian vs Jackfruit
Durian statue in Kampot.

While in Kep, which is nest to Kampot I purchased some durian that was rather bad to put it lightly. It looked wrong and tasted worse. And of course the smell was awful. When it comes to durian how old it is really makes a difference. I also learned that biting the durian seed is pretty disgusting – but more on that later….

What does Jackfruit taste like?

Jackfruit, on the other hand, is whole other bag of vegetables (see what I did there). The jackfruit is crunchy and has a very sweet caramel-like taste and is used in a lot of cooking, and is popular for juices and the like. You eat it differnetly to a durian too, it is not like custard and can ripped apart more shred like.

There is a very citrus like element to jackfruit and it is used brilliantly in many of the best Khmer desserts around. Jackfruit with sticky-rice or Khmer jello being particularly good. One of the more weirder varieties I have had is jackfruit with Khmer salt and pepper, a lot better than it sounds and generally popular with all citrus like fruits out here.

Durian vs Jackfruit – can you eat the seeds?

While Kampot wins for best durian in Cambodia, apparently Kampong Cham is the leader when it comes to the best jackfruit in the country. As previously mentioned I accidentally bit into a durian seed to find out it was disgusting. Do not eat the durian seed.

Jackfruit seeds on the other hand can be cooked, salted and eaten like a snack. They taste a little bit like chips, but with a far more unique taste to them. You can read abut eating jackfruit seeds here.

Durian and Jackfruit – which make the best drinks?

Durian vs Jackfruit – the drinks challenge. This is an interesting, with you get yogurt from both of these fine fruits, but can you make booze from them?

Firstly apparently durian with beer can kill you – like seriously. I did though recently try a durian beer that was very good. Stonehead Durian Beer.

I have yet to find a jackfruit beer, but whilst recently eating at Kinan Restaurant we did find a jackfruit vodka shot, for a dollar. A bit too rocket fuel like for my friends, but one that certainly gave me my jollies. I would truly love to try durian vodka, if it indeed exists.

Durian vs Jackfruit which is the best already?

You know that phrase, like comparing apples with oranges, well the phrase could well enough be like comparing durian – jackfruit. They’re just very different. But from a personal point of view and despite the pong, I truly do love a good piece of durian.

Written by Gareth

Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.

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