Here we are:
That’s not a joke! This watermelon-size fruit is so pungent that it’s banned from trains, hotels, and public places. It smells like rotting flesh, looks like a prehistoric creature, feels like a Medieval torture device, and tastes, in one writer’s words, like “half-solidified whipped cream crossed with a marshmallow”. Known as “The King of Fruits,” durians are as adored as they are despised…
In fact, no other fruit creates such conflicting opinions. Throughout Southeast Asia it is appreciated as haute cuisine to be savored like wine or truffles. Westerners, however, are confounded because, that’s true, durians smell like road kill wrapped in sweaty socks and have the texture of rotten bananas!
And this is the reason, if we see “No Durian” signs in swanky hotel lobbies and on the Singapore Metro.
In many Southeast Asian countries, law prohibits durians on public transportation, and hotel employees vigilantly “sniff out” guests who sneak the fruit inside!
Its terrible odor, reminiscent of a rotting sweet onion, can be detected from across a room! This, of course, is without opening the fruit. After consumption, the odor lingers on clothing and people for hours….and even its fans are wary of its powerful scent.
“Durian” means “thorny” in Indonesian and that you can potentially kill a person by throwing one at someone’s head!
Smell aside, the durian’s high sugar and fat content give it a creamy texture that is really hard to find. Because the traditional Southeast Asian diet includes minimal dairy, durian was one of the sweetest, richest treats in its native region of Malaysia.
Bakers now use durian in custard, cookies, cheesecake, crepes, and other desserts that benefit from its sweet, creamy texture.
However, eating the raw fruit remains popular.
The almost-tangy, near-putrid aftertaste lingers for several minutes even after being baked into a biscuit. Durian, in any form, doesn’t want you to forget it…..