Pungent ‘J-Queen’ durians sell for US$1,000 in Indonesia

A man holding a pair of durians that sold for about US$990 per fruit, in Tasikmalaya. (AFP pic)

JAKARTA: An Indonesian variety of the durian – a pungent, spiky fruit considered a delicacy across many parts of Asia — has been sold in a store on the island of Java for a hefty US$1,000 per fruit.

The “J-Queen” durian was selected by a panel of farmers in a region of central Java because it was deemed to have a special taste and texture, said Sudarno, a farmer who grew the fruit.

Two of the rare durians, which were displayed in a perspex case in a store in Tasikmalaya in the neighbouring province, were sold for 14 million rupiah (US$1,002) each, said Sudarno, who uses one name like many Indonesians.

Asked why anyone would pay such a high price, he said the harvest from this particular tree had failed in past seasons, but a new fertiliser helped to produce fruit this year.

“It’s sweet..fluffy and delicious,” Sudarno said by phone, describing the texture as creamy like butter.

Durian are often grown in family orchards or small-scale farms and are hugely popular in many parts of Asia.

Sometimes described as smelling like an open sewer or turpentine when ripe, durian are banned in some airports, public transport and hotels in Southeast Asia.

Sudarno said most of the 20 durians produced by his tree were premature, but four were offered for sale. Two were sold and the others pulled from display after their quality faded.

He did not know who bought the fruit.