Thursday, July 19, 2012

Durian and I

Durian and I won't be friends.

Not because of its smell, for which it's famous (or rather infamous), but-surprisingly-because of its taste, which I find a bit revolting.
I'm so brave, I'm so brave...
In Thailand, and in many other Southeast Asian countries, the durian is considered to be the "king of fruits" (in case you wonder, yes, there's also a queen, but that's a different story). Some people love it, but many hate it, and it's even disallowed on planes and in many other public places (including hotels). I'm not sure if our hotel has this rule too, but just in case we decided not to risk it and munch on the "forbidden fruit" in a park.

The durian is quite large (up to 30 centimeters/12 inches long and 3 kilograms/7 pounds of weight) and has a characteristic thorn-covered husk. The husk is green-brown and is not edible, wheres the edible flesh can range in color from pale yellow to red, depending on the species. 

You don't have to buy a whole durian. It's possible to buy a tray with durian's flesh that's ready to eat (durian can be eaten raw).

It's the flesh that emits the odour. The odour is so strong that it can be smelled when the husk is intact, and sometimes it can even be smelled from several meters/yards!
Personally, I didn't find the smell particularly repelling. It wasn't pleasant, but it wouldn't discourage me from eating the fruit if I found it tasty. However, one of my travel companions-Agnieszka-insisted that the durian smells like onions. Still, as you can see in the picture below, even she didn't think that the odor was bad enough as to warrant not eating the durian. It was the taste that she also had trouble with. 

Agnieszka was not too impressed by durian's taste.
The first few bites of the durian weren't too bad and I was almost ready to proclaim the whole hype about the fruit as unwarranted. But the third or fourth bite made me feel a bit nauseated, and I didn't feel like eating more.
Here I am about to take the first bite of durian.

Here it is and I am still alive and laughing :)

Even though my friends, Wojtek and Agnieszka, had similar experiences, surprisingly, we weren't able to agree on what we think the durian tastes like. I thought it was a bit soapy (it reminded me a bit taste of fried plantains), Agnieszka tasted onions, and Wojtek couldn't think of any other food that would taste similar to durian. I guess it means that if you want to know how durian tastes, you'll have to try it for yourself!

Wojtek is clearly not too impressed by the durian.

PS There is a fruit that looks similar to the durian but has a quite different taste: the jackfruit. If you're in Southeast Asia, make sure that you don't confuse the two.