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The Origin Of Durian

Borneo is considered as the origin of “The King of Fruits”. The varieties and Durian species surpass the supply in Thailand and Bali by far. Each country has its own specialities to offer. In Borneo the climate is quite mild during the day despite its 30°C. With huge excitement we landed in Kota Kinabalu. What fruits and specialities will await us? We spent the first week in Borneo with Tina and Simon. The couple from Europe has been travelling in the tropics for some years and now they planned for a stay in Borneo for the next weeks. They showed us the rarest and best fruits the country has to offer. Rollinia, which melts like a juicy creamy lemon sorbet on your tongue. Dabai, the jungle olive that tastes like salted mashed potatoes and herbs. Rare red avocado durian that surprised us with its colour and huge amounts of coconuts that refreshed us every day. Some videos and newspaper reports have already been made about the couple. In Asia they are well known. Tina and Simon will get a baby soon, what made the trip even more interesting. They only live on fruits. Her taste has completely changed, Tina tells us.

During the trip with Tina and Simon we met some good friends again. We knew them already from previous retreats. It was wonderful to see those people again and hear about their progress. Everyone brings knowledge and experiences to the dynamics of the group. This enriches and brings diversity. The tastebuds in the group were as different as there were people. Only with Durian almost everyone agreed: Suluk. This Durian tastes like delicious Tiramisu! Another speciality that comes deep from the jungle: Durian Dulcis. This red fireball smelled like chemical glue and is really hard to open. Once the fruit has been opened, white-yellow fruit pockets appear, which have an intensely sweet mint taste. Many participants of our retreat enjoyed them. It was a bit too sweet for me. During our common journey we made boat trips in Brunei, visited natural mud volcanoes and explored markets. Every day we had breakfast, lunch and dinner together with the best fruits available. So we travelled from Kota Kinabalu to Lawas, Brunei and further to Limbang. We refreshed ourselves with jungle walks and swimming in tropical waters. On the way through the jungle there were always new things to discover: The palm oil fruit, whose questionable cultivation methods can be heard again and again in the media. There was also Kubal, which is considered to be one of the rarest fruits in the world. The seeds of this fruit are so valuable, that they are traded worldwide.


Tina and Simon took care of the wishes and needs of the group. There was fresh fruit every day and Martin’s desire for Eggfruit was fullfilled right at the beginning. Another highlight of this trip was definitely Dabai. The Jungle Olive is a special treat for the tastebuds. It is currently only available on Borneo. Actually it is considered as bird food, because in its natural state the oil fruit is relatively hard. Birds swallow the fruit and soak it in their crop until it becomes soft. So that it becomes edible for us humans, it is best to soak it in warm water up to max. 42°C. So they remain raw and the vitamins are preserved. After 20 to 30 minutes you can usually get them out of the water and then enjoy them. Depending on the quality, a longer or renheated water bath may also be useful. Once you know how to prepare it, you’ll find a delicious taste of salty potatoes with herbs, hummus, cooked lentils or pizza with herbs and feta flavour. In Dabai you will find the most complex tastes of nature. Needless to say, that we had a lot of them every night.


After some longer car trips through Borneo’s jungle, we could spend the last days of our group trip in the nature. There was a communal kitchen with a panoramic view over the jungle hills. Everyone had their own little chalet with shower and comfortable bed. During the day we visited the thermal springs where hot water from natural sources was used. There we could bathe in the pools and experience a kind of ecstatic effect: If one stays so long in the hot water until the heartbeat accelerates and it is no longer bearable, one can then quickly go to the cool river and completely dive into it. During this alternation of extremes, you get a very light feeling in your head and everything seems extremely clear. Breathing then functions as if you had taken a menthol candy. After a week of our fun trip, we said goodbye to the group and explored Borneo on our own for another two weeks. I was allowed to taste one of the most popular varieties of the Durian: “Musang King”. This Durian is one of my favourite varieties. It tastes very intense and is so creamy. It has sweet and bitter notes and has a golden yellow flesh. You can recognize Musang King by the five lines that form a star on the bottom of the fruit.


Borneo is ideal, especially for Durian-Lovers and people who like to try salty and fatty fruits like Dabai. These rarities are currently only available here. Borneo offers plenty of markets, very friendly culture and adventures for travellers. You will also find some beautiful sandy beaches. “Selamat Jalan!”

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