Wine for Dragons

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wine Question : Urban Legend or Truth (?)

Dear readers must wonder why there is a durian in this Wine blog. Well one of the lame excuses for not posting more reviews on wine, is that it has been the durian season. And I have been chomping down on them rather than pouring wine down my throat. There is lots of advice not to be drinking and eating durian together. Here is more evidence for this abstinence, though I doubt some of the claims.

Article 1
Rarely does durian season pass without newspapers somewhere in Southeast Asia reporting a durian death. The fruit, which is rich in carbohydrates, protein, fat and sulfurous compounds (thus the smell), is said here to be “heaty,” and can therefore be deadly for those with high blood pressure, according to Wilailak Srisura, a nutritionist at the Thai Department of Health. Tradition also dictates that mixing alcohol with durian should be avoided at all costs.

"Durian makes you hot and alcohol makes you hot, so it's double heat," said Somchai Tadchang, the owner of a durian orchard on Kret, an island on the Chao Phraya river north of Bangkok, where special Gan Yao (long stem) durians sell for upwards of $40 a fruit, the equivalent of several days' wages for a laborer here.

Songpol says he has not found a scientific reason why durian and alcohol are incompatible, but would not dare consume both at the same time.

Source :

Article 2
SIBU: Durian and alcohol can be a deadly mixture. Ask Rimong from Rumah Paong, Batu Niah, and he would advise mixing the two which nearly caused him his life.

"I thought I was a goner. I felt my head spinning, and it was hard for me to breathe. The pain on my chest was unbearable," he related his experience some years back. Rimong, in his 40's, was fortunate as he was a quick thinker. He drank a lot of water till his stomach was full and vomited.

"I don't know how much water I drank at that time but I can assure you that it was a lot. I repeated the life saving method for several times till my body weakened. "I fell unconscious after that," he said , assuring that would not dare to eat durians after having alcohol drinks.
Ambau ak Japang, 32 from Semarak Estate in Bintulu had seen the potent mixture when he experimented a few years ago.

"After hearing so many stories of durians and alcohol, I decided to experiment out of curiosity. When I dipped the durian into a glass of alcohol, I could see gases coming out. "Then the liquor changed colour from brownish to black.

"Alcohol and durian can generate so much heat if taken. If both are taken at the same time, the human body would not be able to stand the heat. That's why so many people died after taking durians and alcohol at the same time," he said.

His advice: "If you have taken alcohol, wait at least 12 hours before you can eat durians. But like the don't drink and don't-drive saying, it is better not to drink and eat durians at the same time."

A middle aged man in Batu Niah was recently found dead on the floor of his room by friends. He was covered with foams of mixed saliva and blood in his mouth.
Friends found that Panggau, in his 50's had been drinking four bottles of branded liquor and ate some durians in his room. "It was horrible. His face had turned dark with foams of blood and saliva coming out of mouth," they said.

=> I seriously doubt gases are emitted when durian is mixed with alcohol

Article 3
A page titled Durian Talk from the Bao Sheng Durian Farm in Malaysia also mentions the taboo against mixing alcohol and durians. Here's their explanation: "The flesh of the durian is rich in protein and when high protein mixes with alcohol it becomes yeast. You will feel uncomfortable and you may need to visit a doctor then."

=> This has really no scientific basis, the yeast in the wine is dead with all the alcohol.


  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Edward said…


    Thanks for the anecdotes. I can't stand durian, so it just reinforces the need to avoid the fruit even more!
    Some of the suggestions as to why you get unwell just seem illogical. I have certainly seen friends eat it and then drink alcohol or vice versa with no problem.
    I thought the most likely way to die from a durian, was to be hit by a falling one ;-)

  • At 1:32 PM, Blogger DesDragon said…


    Thanks for leaving a comment, I am glad you enjoyed the article.

    I ,however, being brought up in an asian context, LOVE durian. (it's pretty hard to resist when at a young age you are surrounded by them, just like how the French love Blue Cheese)

    I agree that there seems no concrete evidence of getting ill by drinking alcohol and durian together. And they do pack a punch with their spikes, like an ancient MACE!

  • At 1:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi Des,

    I am just curiuos after reading all these articles and comments.

    Could it be a simple they don't know what they are doing?

    As a matter of fact, we are making Durian Wine, a world-first achievement.

    Could we make an appoinment for you to taste our durian wine and give your professional tasting comments, too?

    Look forward to hear from you.

    Kind regards,
    Johnny E. Wu

  • At 8:13 AM, Blogger TidesofMadness said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 8:30 AM, Blogger TidesofMadness said…

    I tested the mixture. It is like mixing mentos sweet with coke. The bubblic reaction was great. Do not gulp the drink and swallow the chunk together, before or after one another. The air pressure and chemical reasction is too great for one person to handle. Chemical reaction gives off heat.

    Making durian wine is a different scenario. It is mixing beforehand. The bubblic reaction occurs outside the human stomach.

    Go ahead and take the sip. I dont enjoy the taste of it anyway.

    Take care everyone.

  • At 3:32 PM, Blogger Lindsay Gasik said…

    I run a website dedicated to durian at I'm interested in your opinion about which wines pair well with durian. I'm thinking a red, thick dessert wine. What do you think?


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