Friday, April 25, 2008

This is what all the fuss is about?

The famous Durian. The King of all fruits. A fruit so pungent, it's illegal to bring it on the bus in most of southeast Asia. When you move to this part of the world, the first question you get from most foodies is, "Have you tried durian yet?"

Let me give you an idea of the experience.

The fruit is spiky, but not sharp enough to break your skin. Pretty solid for it's size. It takes a pretty hefty knife to crack it open, but once you do, you've got pretty easy access to the waxy flesh inside.

Then the smell hits you. I've heard it described as "a rotten smell" or "like dirty diapers", but that's not really right. It's a unique smell. Pungent. Not pleasant. Not pleasant at all. Clearly a defense mechanism developed over thousands and thousands of years. A smell that says, "Go away, there's nothing you want here." The first guy who ate one of these must have been really hungry.

As far as flavor, I'd have to say it's similar to the smell. Not quite a rotten taste, but more akin to the fruit version of stinky cheese. Combine a older brie cheese with fermented tofu and you might start to get close to this flavor. You're first reaction is, "This doesn't belong in my mouth." The real bitch of it is that you can't get the flavor out of your mouth. An hour later I could still taste it.

I'm told it's an acquired taste.


Andy said...

How about another update? If I wanted to look at a smelly fruit on the Internet, I'd get Jason Cables a webcam.

Kathy said...

I'm a Kiwi expat, living in SEAsia for about 10 years and have only tried Durian once.

Spikey Rotten Ham Cheese.

Andy said...

I totally referenced durian in a staff meeting today. One guy was making a lame metaphor about his business project, saying it was like an apple orchard. I said it sucked and told him it was more like a durian orchard. ZING! Thanks Matt!