Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The King of Fruits

So, I was watching 'Bizarre Foods' on the Travel Channel and the host, Andrew Zimmern, (who eats everything from blowfish to snake penis) admits that he has trouble eating a particular fruit called the Durian. Apparently, this fruit smells so bad, and has such a gross texture, that even though it actually tastes decent, many people cannot bring themselves to eat it.

After seeing this on TV, I asked a number of people if they'd heard of the Durian. Everyone who had heard of it seemed to have a response like: "I've heard it is putrid" or "Isn't the the fruit that smells like sweaty socks" or "I think it's banned on the subway in Singapore" -- but no one had ever actually smelled or tasted it. At this point, I was pretty intrigued and had to find out for myself.

A friend of mine from the office, Jonah, and I went to Chinatown here in Boston to an Asian Market called Super 88. It didn't take long to find the Durians. The fruits are very large, about the size of a pineapple, and very spikey. In fact, Jonah's hand was impaled when one rolled on top of it. We bought a Durian and brought it back to the office to let it defrost and ripen for a day.

The following day, the Durian was soft, but still pretty spikey. A group of folks from the office brought the Durian outside (just in case in really smelled like sweaty socks) for an official tasting. It definitely didn't disappoint.

Smells included Grandma's Basement, Chinatown, A Trash Can Sprayed with Potpourri, and Butt. Upon slicing open the fruit, we were instantly hit with a strong scent of formaldehyde. The inside of the fruit had four separate sections, each yellow and fleshing resembling raw chicken. The taste was compared to Onions, Custard, and House Paint. The texture was surprisingly slimey. There is no denying that the smell and taste of the Durian is incredibly complex.

Overall, while I'm glad I tasted the Durian, it's definitely not a favorite of mine. Like others, I would agree that the problem with the Durian comes from the smell and texture rather than the taste. If you have a Durian story, please share it with me.



teabean said...

I totally agree with you, and I grew up in a household where durian is a staple! I can eat just about anything, (except periwinkles. They freak me out) and durian makes me run in the opposite direction. I tried it once when I was a teenager and I think I'm still trying to get the taste off of my tongue! Though I have to say- it's supposed to have healing properties when eaten, and I've seen it work... the smell probably makes all the bacteria flee...

You should try to catch the 'No Reservations' with Anthony Bourdain, when he eats it. He absolutely loves it!

Bob Flynn said...

I'm ashamed and somewhat proud to admit I didn't mind it that much. It definitely had a weird after taste, but I've tasted worse.

I was expecting something much worse on all accounts. The grossest thing about it was how it looked (over how it smelled or tasted).

ihatedurian said...

Worst. Smell. Ever.

How anyone ever got past the smell to actually eat one of those things is beyond mortal understanding.