Durian is somewhat infamous, at least in the foodie world, thanks to world travellers like Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain. It's something of an extreme fruit that has earned itself, with the help of these chefs, quite a reputation.
You either love it or you hate it. It's delicious or disgusting. In one exerpt from Wikipedia opinions range from one extreme to the other.
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, a lover of durian, relates his encounter with the fruit thus: "Its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother." Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says:
“ ... its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia. ”
Other comparisons have been made with the civet, sewage, stale vomit, skunk spray and used surgical swabs.
It just makes you want to dig right in, doesn't it?
After mustering up the courage to try balut, it seems like a piece of cake diving in to durian. Yeah, I was a little uneasy about what I might smell, but it couldn't really taste that bad, right?
I invited friends and family over to give this very unique fruit a try. Would you be surprised if nobody showed up? I wasn't. Most of my friends and family aren't foodies like me, and aren't too keen on sticking weird things in their mouths. My dad is a fanatic like me, and knew what durian was. His response when I told him I got one to try... "You're not right." Needless to say, he wasn't gonna bite.
Ok, so it's just me. Fine. I'll be adventurous all by my self. And I was.
|I wasn't sure how to open it, so I just cut the thing in half. |
Maybe I won't do it that way next time.
|One big yummy chunk. It looks delicious doesn't it?|
|Shocked at how yummy it is!|
|Ya gotta eat around the big seed.|
|It took me no time to finish one whole section. Man, this stuff is good!|
While a lot of people find durian disgusting, I, for one, LOVE durian. It's quickly become my new favorite fruit. Actually I'd say it's a tie between durian, and young coconuts. Both of which I am blessed to have in my refrigerator right now!
As it turns out, I have a Thai durian, which seems to be less fragrant, and sweeter than many other varieties. Because of this, I find it extremely yummy.
Perhaps the best comparison for the flavor is "perfectly caramelized Vidalia onions." It's a little earthy and very sweet. It kind of reminded me of lychee nuts in a way. A fellow Primal aptly described durian as "the cheesecake of fruit" and I wholeheartedly agree. It's so soft and creamy! It's really hard to accurately describe durian. You really just have to try it for yourself.
Have you ever had durian? Do you love it or hate it, and how would you describe it?