I durian Monthong are large fruits, averaging 3 to 5 kilograms, and generally have an oval to cylindrical, tapering shape, sometimes found with irregular bumps, creating a heart-like appearance. The surface of the fruit is covered in dense, pointed triangular spikes, and the color varies from pale green to light brown to golden brown. Beneath the spiny surface, is a white, spongy interior with multiple chambers enclosing lobes of flesh. Each lobe of the flesh has a semi-hard surface, revealing a thick, creamy, buttery interior with small, hard seeds. Monthong durians have a mild aroma compared to other varieties of durian and a rich, sweet, warm and complex aroma described as a blend of vanilla, caramel, pepper and sulfur notes.
I durian Monthong are available during Thailand's hot season, with peak harvesting between April and August.
I Monthong durian, botanically classified as Durio zibethinus, are a large Thai variety belonging to the Malvaceae family. Thailand is a major producer and exporter of durian, and there are over 234 cultivars in the country, with only a few varieties grown for commercial use. Monthong durian account for over half of the total durian production in Thailand and are also the most exported cultivar as the fruit can be stored for around twenty days without spoiling. The name Monthong translates from Thai to mean 'golden pillow', a reflection of the variety's thick, soft flesh, and when in season, the cultivar is found widely through street vendors, local markets, and trucks that criss-cross neighborhoods selling the fruits on the megaphones . Thai durian are traditionally harvested before they are fully ripe, a process believed to extend the fruit's shelf life, and this method also develops a firm but soft texture within the fruit with a mild, sweet flavor. Nowadays, there is intense competition between Thailand and Malaysia for durian production, and Monthong durian is the signature variety traded and exported from Thailand to neighboring markets.
I Monthong durian are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system, increases collagen production and reduces inflammation. Fruits are also a good source of potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, magnesium to regulate blood pressure, fiber to stimulate the digestive tract, manganese to aid in protein digestion, and contain lower amounts of phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc.
Monthong durian can be used at multiple stages of maturity for both raw and cooked preparations, including frying and boiling. When young, the flesh has a thick, firm texture and is mostly sliced and fried as chips, chopped and mixed into curries, or thinly sliced and mixed into fresh salads. In Thailand, Monthong durians are incorporated into massaman curry to add rich, umami flavors, and are also sometimes prepared as som tom, a raw, crunchy side salad made with herbs, fish sauce, and unripe fruits. As Monthong durian matures, the pulp is mostly eaten plain, out of the way, pureed into salad dressings or blended into pastes, and used as a topping in ice cream, fruit rolls, and pastries. The pulp can also be mixed into sticky rice, blended into coffee, or cooked with syrup to create a sweet dessert. Monthong durian pairs well with tropical fruits, including mangosteen, rambutan, snakefruit, mango and coconut, flavors like garlic, shallots, lemongrass and galangal, chocolate, vanilla, and herbs like coriander, cumin, mint and powdered curry . Whole, uncut Monthong durian will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, but the length of time will depend significantly on the ripeness of the fruit at the time of harvest. Once ripe, the fruits should be eaten immediately for the best flavor and texture. Sections of the meat can be stored in an airtight container for 2-5 days. Monthong durian can also be frozen and exported to markets around the world.
Monthong durian is one of the main varieties of durian featured at the Chanthaburi Fruit Festival in Chanthaburi province in southeast Thailand. Chanthaburi is known as Thailand's "tropical fruit bowl," and the annual ten-day festival in May focuses on the local crops grown in the region, including durian. During the festival, Monthong durian are displayed in large piles on tables, sold whole or pre-sliced, and are even sampled for free for a short time of the day, allowing visitors to sample the different varieties. Durians are also sold in cooked preparations during the festival, including chips, curries, candies, drinks and desserts. Besides durian, the fruit festival is nationally known for its handcrafted wooden furniture, handcrafted products, and other local tropical fruits such as mangosteen and snake fruit. These local fruits are combined with durian.