Monday 27 August 2007

My Ode to Durian

How I love thy divine fruit, thou art food from the heavens....ok, enough of that. I have just finished eating the sumptuous divinity that is Durian...I love this fruit. I can't get enough of it..and it's in season now and half our village is our family that have trees in their backyard which equates to lots of free durian for me!! It even has an official title bestowed upon it in Thailand - "Durian - King of Fruit". The Queen of fruit is Mangosteen but that will probably get an ode all to itself in another post.

Although I possibly get more pleasure out of eating durian then perhaps some other joyous bedroom past time (!), the stench that emits from them is just beastly. My friend visited me last year from Oz described the taste as a cross between rockmelon (cantaloupe) and onions while trying her best not to spontaneously projectile it back onto me. There really is no in betweens with durian. You love it or you hate it, there's no grey area when dealing with this fruit. This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Opinions are widely divergent ... ranging from highly appreciative to deep disgust.

Writing in 1856, Alfred Russel Wallace provides a much-quoted description of the flavour of the durian:

The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the eatable part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. ... as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed.

Wallace cautions that "the smell of the ripe fruit is certainly at first disagreeable"; more recent descriptions by westerners can be more graphic. 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

Both of these descriptions are so accurate I couldn't word it better myself. You're seriously not allowed to take Durian on air-conditioned public transport so as not to offend other passengers. If it weren't for the fact that the smell of durian on your breath makes you repugnant to all fellow beings, the fact that too much makes your stomach burn and too much makes you fat...I could live off this fruit alone for all my days...

3 commentaramas:

Ally said...

Hi there Mel

Just found your diary and it makes great reading.

I have taken a feed from you & will be monitoring what you are up to.

Keep up the interesting stuff.


Mel said...

Hi Ally

Thanks so much! Good to hear from you, I'll check out your blog too!

Mel said...

I need to try this fruit...I can find it frozen in our Asian supermarket, if it weren't for the smell thing!!! And just like Ally, I love your blog. Long story short I'm adicted to blogs - in particular Thailand and Adoption if you catch the relationship between both categories!!!