Davao City is known as the Durian Capital of the Philippines for a reason. When in season, the “king of fruits” is practically everywhere in the city.
Aside from the actual fruit, the durian has been incorporated in many food items that are readily available all year round such as in candies, coffee, cheesecakes, as well as in pies and tarts. While the durian is not the only popular fruit bought as pasalubong (pomelo is another very famous fruit from Davao), its flavor has arguably been infused in more products compared to pomelo.
But have you tried—or even heard of—grilled durian? Yep, it’s a thing and it’s super yum.
It might sound weird to some, even for durian lovers, but grilling the fruit has been around for a while, especially in neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.
To grill the durian, the entire fruit (unpeeled) is placed over burning charcoal until the husk is charred, much like how you’ll barbecue meat. To ensure the fruit doesn’t burn and is equally cooked, it is regularly turned.
After some 20 minutes (or until its skin turns charcoal-like), the fruit’s thorny shell cracks open by itself. That’s when you know it’s ready.
Grilling makes the durian’s flesh more moist, giving the fruit a “creamier, sweeter, and slightly smoky flavor,” its texture comparable to that of yema (a favorite Pinoy sweet). Its consistency is almost jam-like, which means it could even be used as a spread for bread.
The grilling process also significantly reduces the pungent odor that durian is famous (or infamous) for, a huge win for those who can’t stand the smell.
If you’re up to checking out grilled durian, Ian Garcia, a well-travelled local who posted about trying out this delicacy on Facebook, recommends Andy’s Durian in Davao Crocodile Park’s Kanto Grill. Andy’s Durian has several varieties available, including Native Malagkit, Davao Selection, Kob Yellow, D101, Chanee, Duyaya and Puyat. Their grilled durian sells for P70 per kilo, plus an additional P50.00 as grilling fee. Andy’s Durian also offers a Durian-All-You-Can promo for only P199 per person.