Flora of Indonesia

Hotel guests raise stink over 'king of the fruits'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 12:00am

Hotels have banned guests from having durian in their rooms as the strong-smelling fruit becomes an increasingly popular curiosity for visitors, particularly tourists from China.

The Royal Plaza Hotel, in Mongkok, has placed a sign at its entrance warning guests not to eat or keep the tropical fruit, which is known for its unique scent, in rooms.

'It is a new regulation. We find some guests don't like the smell, which is quite strong and will take a long while to dissipate,' a Royal Plaza staff member said.

Other hotels questioned by the Post all said they also had banned tourists from taking durian into the premises.

The manager of the Kowloon Panda Hotel said: 'Hotels use air-conditioning for ventilation and the smell can spread everywhere.'

An employee at the South China Hotel in North Point said some guests bought the fruit out of curiosity and then dumped it in corridor rubbish bins when they decided they did not like the taste.

The large, green, thorny fruit is a delicacy in Southeast Asia. It is known as the 'king of the fruits' throughout the region.

The unusual treat captures the attention of thousands of overseas and mainland tourists who often have never seen one before coming to Hong Kong.

Guo Hong, a visiting Beijing student, said: 'We have heard many times about durian fruit. Some people tell us it is a must-try, and others tell us to keep away from it because it stinks. I really want to find out what it tastes like.'

Zhao Jinjin, a bank worker from Henan, said: 'It's quite expensive but we have never seen such fruit in Henan. So we bought one and I found the taste was better than I imagined.'