Meet one of the most highly debated fruits. Is it good? Is it awful? Does it smell? (no contest).
For those outside of Asia … Durian:
Regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong 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 that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage, and gym socks. The persistence of its odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.
Before we started our rice field hike we stopped at a little restaurant at the top. They cracked a few fresh coconuts, cut up some pineapple and offered durian. We had to try it.
This fruit is so smelly that in Singapore they have signs on public transit that say “No hazardous chemicals, explosives, food or durian”. I have been told that if you bring a durian into a government building there is a $5,000 fine.
I have also been told that the “pungency” varies highly between countries and that if left to ferment, it makes a strong alcohol drink. We had to try it.
Verdict: I didn’t spit it up.
It tasted keroseney to me (is that a word?). Not a favourite, but I can mark it off the list .. tried. I do think that it is one of the coolest looking fruits, and it may even look like “the King of the fruits”.