I'm not gonna lie, I use to HATE durian with a passion when I was a little kid. Maybe it was the way it smelled to me then (some say that it's comparable to sweaty gym socks, but I've grown so accustomed to it that it's actually kind of fragrant to me now), or the way it looked (the shell looks like Spinies from Super Mario, and the innards look like brains with a giant avocado seed), or its texture (it's like biting into a cream puff... only without the puff part), or its unusual taste (sweet, plus a taste that can only be described as durian-y as there's nothing else like it).
Though my family loves durian, I tried it once when I was like, 5, didn't like it, then went through most of my life without consuming it again. This was probably mostly because durian gets such a bad rap and is so stigmatized around here (yes, I used the word stigmatized to describe a fruit). Durian is just about as stigmatized as a fruit is going to get.
My parents told me that back in the day in Asia, or at least China and Vietnam, besides getting beaten with sticks and rulers when students misbehaved, students also had the pleasure of kneeling on durian shells. Uh, yeah, pretty painful. I'm sure that this still happens in really, really rural parts of Asia. That's one reason to hate durians -- its hard, spiky shell.
Can you imagine kneeling on these?
Another reason that durian is so stigmatized is because of its odor. Believe it or not, not all people in Asia like durian. The odor of durian is so offensive to some that signs are posted in subway stations in Singapore that prohibit the consumption or carrying of durian on their trains. My mom use to always buy my siblings and I banh mi sandwiches to bring onto flights so that we don't starve, and she always made the point of telling the person making them to not include the pickled vegetables as the smell may offend other passengers, but uh, something tells me that durian takes the cake on most offensive smelling food. By about a landslide. Through Googling, I found all these amusing signs. What's the fine for bringing a durian onboard anyways? That's what I really want to know.
And I'm not sure how mangosteen ended up on this sign. I mean, mangosteen never did anything to anyone besides be fragrant, delicious, and rich in antioxidants. Hmmmmp.
Hard hat area.
Apparently, those signs are up in some parts of Asia like "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" signs are in the States and the smell of durian is just as offensive as smoking and pets.
Well, geez, it's just a fruit.
It wasn't until the past year or so when I decided to be a more adventurous eater that I decided to give durian a whirl. I was offered a piece when I was in Hong Kong and decided, "Why not?". I took a bite, chewed, swallowed and thought, "Hey... this isn't half bad!" I ended up spending the rest of that trip hunting down durian desserts. I had durian cream puffs, durian cake, durian with sago, durian with grass jelly and durian tarts.
In the States, durian is readily available in many Asian supermarkets, like Ranch 99, if not fresh, then prepared and frozen. Though I like durian now, fresh durian is still not something that I'd go out of my way to eat in the States. There aren't street markets here where the keeper of the fruit stand will cut a fresh durian and prepare it right away for me, and I'd only want to eat it fresh, not frozen, so getting from the freezer aisle of an Asian supermarket is out of the question for me. But, ya know, if there's fresh durian readily available and prepared... it might as well be in my belly!
My Asian friends always poke fun at me and tell me that I'm really, really white washed for an Asian person. Well, when we hit up the Asian snack and dessert cafes, I show them who's really Asian... By ordering durian dessert. Half the time, the cafe's out of durian and my friends are thankful. The other half of the time, though, they hate me and move over to the next table as soon as the dessert comes out if they can. Take that.
King of tropical fruits. You haven't grasp the meaning of fruits until you try this one out! ;-) One man's poison, another man's meat (or profit? ;-)). It's the smell, baby, the smell!!! Best to take a glass of salt water after Durian as it is quite 'heaty'! Do not drink wine with Durians. It will kill.
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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The durian is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae). Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.
The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.
The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.