The Famous Durian Smell

The durian fruit’s astonishing smell has been described in hundreds of ways – none of them pleasant. Rotten onions, roadkill, dirty feet, vomit, sewage – people associate the unique smell to previous olfactory experiences. Love it or hate it, durian fruit is surprisingly pungent. Animals, particularly orangutans, are lured by the smell of durian fruit from over half a mile away. The smell of durian fruit is distinctive, lingering, and persistent; the odor penetrates into fabric and remains on your hands after eating. Many hotels, subways, and public spaces in Southeast Asia advertise a no-durian-fruit policy with signs of the spiky fruit crossed out in red.


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