Andrew Zimmern hates the stuff. Anthony Bourdain loves it. A friend of mine likened the odour of it to Oscar the Grouch’s fetid, sweaty crotch.
The durian fruit.
I’ve been curious about this malodorous fruit since first hearing about it a few years ago on one of the above mentioned food and travel programs. The smell is supposedly so pungent that in certain countries where it’s more prevalent, it’s prohibited to eat it in public places or in hotel rooms. The edible part looks interesting, almost custard-y, and not unappealing. I find myself looking at it on tv and thinking it can’t be that bad. Of course, smell-a-vision hasn’t really developed yet.
The stand at the outdoor market where I get my okra has had this infamous fruit available in the past. I’ve been tempted to get one and see for myself, but it’s been easy enough to put off doing so. Until today.
I was out running a few errands this morning and stopped in at the Chinese market I like. I’d been hoping to find some wonton and spring roll wrappers (success!). As I was looking through the frozen section where they also have prepared shu mai and other tasty bits, I realized that they had frozen durian pulp. Since I was already buying the wonton wrappers, I figured now was the time to put up or shut up and get the durian. All I have to do is defrost it! I don’t have to hack up the fruit or anything!
I’m going to try it tonight. I thought about waiting, but remembered that tomorrow is garbage day, and if it smells as bad as they say — and if I don’t like it — I don’t want it hanging around for a few days! So far, it’s not stinky, but that could be the vacuum-packaging. Maybe without the whole fruit, it won’t be as stinky. Maybe it will be like stinky cheese — awful smell, but mild taste. Maybe I’ll be one of those people that just likes the stuff. I don’t have that receptor that makes cilantro so vile to some people; maybe I don’t have the receptor that makes durian pulp taste so bad.
Details to come …
ETA: I tried, but the combination of smell and texture got to me. I was able to eat some of it, but couldn’t bring myself to eat more than a few bites. Still, I think I’ll try it again some day. After all, the famous Dutch herring took a bit of get used to, but now I love it!