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China's taste for Thai durian unabated by COVID-19

2021/3/1 11:21:42   source:CGTN

Chinese people's big appetite for durian has been noted again as new data shows they purchased 575,000 tons of fresh durian from Thailand in 2020.

That amount of durian was worth 14.7 billion yuan (about $2.3 billion), 78 percent up compared with last year, according to the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The ministry also said that over 90 percent of the fresh durian sold in China was imported from Thailand in 2020.

Known as the "king of fruits," the durian is distinctive for its prickly outer shell and a strong odor and a taste combines a sweet flavor and a creamy texture. The fruit can grow as large as 12 inches long and six inches in diameter. It typically weighs two to seven pounds.

Its sulphur compounds mean you smell it long before you see it. For people who love the smell, it's a delicacy, while for those who hate it, it's something they will never try. The smelly fruit, although popularly consumed in Asia, is banned in hotels and on public transport in many countries across the continent.

Chinese people love the durian so much that the fruit has been added into desserts and dishes. Cakes and tarts with fresh durian pulps are very popular among Chinese customers. Some others are more creative as they produce durian pastry, durian fried rice and even durian hot pot.

Besides Thailand, Malaysia is also a big producer of durian and it also eyes the big potential of the Chinese market.

The China-Malaysia durian festival, aimed at promoting Malaysia's durian, was first launched in 2017 in Nanning, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was held online in 2020. Almost $15 million was paid for about 60 tons of thorny Mao Shan Wang durians alone – one of the most famous durian types. 

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