Malaysians have an unbridled love for durian, a fruit that's famously divisive worldwide. You either savor its unique flavor or can't bear its strong aroma. Many have even humorously suggested that the "king of fruits" could double as a biological weapon due to its potent scent.
Photo via X (TAKAHASHI Katsuhiko)
However, the magic of durian extends beyond its polarizing reputation. Recently, it proved to be an unexpected diplomatic tool during the official visit of Japan's Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, to Malaysia.
During a formal dinner hosted by his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and Anwar's wife, Dato' Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Ismail, the Japanese Prime Minister was presented with a plate of durian. It marked Kishida's first encounter with the revered Malaysian fruit.
Photos and a video capturing Kishida's durian experience were shared by the Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Takahashi Katsuhiko, on his official X account, captivating the attention of netizens.
In the video, Kishida can be seen delicately cutting a small piece of durian flesh with cutlery before cautiously tasting it. Anwar encouraged him to give it a try, intently observing his reaction to this exotic delicacy.
As Kishida savored the fruit, Anwar eagerly inquired about his impression of the durian's taste. After a few moments, the Japanese Prime Minister responded positively, signaling his enjoyment of the durian's unique flavor. Anwar, Wan Azizah, and those around them erupted in cheers and applause.
In his X post, Takahashi Katsuhiko playfully dubbed this exchange between the two Prime Ministers "durian diplomacy" and hailed the fruit as the most efficient way to get to know Malaysia.
Responses from Malaysians were filled with amusement at Kishida's inaugural durian tasting experience. One commenter humorously suggested that Malaysia was now well-prepared to export the "king of fruits" to Japan, while another found the Japanese Prime Minister's reaction utterly charming.
A particular point of debate among commenters was the manner in which durian should be consumed. Some found it strange that Kishida used cutlery, asserting that eating durian with your hands enhances its flavor by a hundredfold.
These discussions reflect the passion and pride Malaysians have for their beloved durian!