The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. 

While Wallace cautions that "the smell of the ripe fruit is certainly at first disagreeable", later descriptions by westerners are more graphic. British novelist Anthony Burgess writes that eating durian is "like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory." Chef Andrew Zimmern compares the taste to "completely rotten, mushy onions." Anthony Bourdain, while a lover of durian, relates his encounter with the fruit as thus: "Its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ... Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says:  “ ... the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia. ” 

 The strong odour can be detected half a mile away by animals, thus luring them. In addition, the fruit is extremely appetising to a variety of animals, including squirrels, mouse deer, pigs, orangutan, elephants, and even carnivorous tigers. While some of these animals eat the fruit and dispose of the seed under the parent plant, others swallow the seed with the fruit and then transport it some distance before excreting, with the seed being dispersed as a result. The thorny, armored covering of the fruit discourages smaller animals; larger animals are more likely to transport the seeds far from the parent tree. 

There are quite strong beliefs that durian and alcohol do not mix even fatal. This hasn't been supported by any literature search so it's an unanswered question. 

There are a small number of durain containing recipes on this site:

  • Durian Agar Gel
  • Durian Cream Custard
  • Durian Ice Cream
  • Pulut Serawa Durian (Durian with Sticky Rice)