Spicy Thai Minced Pork with Basil and Durian

Spicy Minced Pork with Holy Basil and Durian

by Khiang, Bangkok, Thailand

Durian is a strange beast. Either loved or despised without any opinions in between, this stinky southeast Asian fruit is said to "taste like Heaven, and smell like Hell". Durian is beloved throughout Southeast Asia (by some, although it's still banned in public places such as subways and hotels due to its offensive smell), and is only available for a short season every year.

It's durian season right now, and the fruit is showing up all over Thailand - sold from big piles of the strange, spiky fruits on the side of the road; cooked into sweet, rich desserts; and served up as an odd addition to classic Thai dishes. This week, I tried a kaprao moo (Thai spicy holy basil pork) served up with thick slices of young durian.

Thai spicy basil pork with durian by Khiang
basil pork with durian

Basil pork, or pad kaprao (ผัดกระเพรา), is one of the most popular go-to Thai street food dishes. The dish is made from minced pork stir-fried with garlic, spicy Thai chilis, and "holy basil", a special type of Thai basil that is much more peppery and savory than the "sweet basil" that is more familiar in the West.

Kraprao Durian by Khiang, Bangkok, Thailand
Kraprao Durian by Khiang, Bangkok, Thailand

Usually I order basil pork topped with a fried egg, but since Khiang was advertising its special seasonal durian kaprao, I decided to give it a try. The kaprao itself had a very traditional taste. I like mine very spicy, with lots and lots of garlic and red Thai chilis.

Good quality durian is usually served ripe and mushy, but this dish used young durian, which had a texture similar to fresh papaya. The big slices of durian gave the dish a uniquely sweet taste, along with its iconic aroma, but the strongest parts of the smell and taste were blended together with the spices and flavors of the basil pork, and were not overpowering at all.

Overall, while I may not order this as a go-to lunch, I enjoyed it. It's kind of a strange combination, but the flavors definitely do go well together. I recommend giving it a try.

spicy Thai minced pork with basil and fresh durian
spicy Thai minced pork with basil and fresh durian


💲💲 - An order of Thai basil pork with durian costs 130 THB (about $3.50 USD). Regular basil pork is just 65 THB, but durian is an expensive fruit, and adding it to the dish definitely increases the price. It's a little expensive for Thai street food, but since durian season is just for a short time in the year, it's worth treating yourself once in a while!

Where to get it

Khiang by Tummour is a chain of Thai kaprao restaurants found throughout Bangkok and across the country. Learn more on their official Instagram.

Khiang is also available via delivery using apps such as Grab or LineMan in Thailand.