The first time was as durian ice cream at a Thai restaurant in Sydney and it was...well...okay. Actually, not bad. The ice cream part was good anyway. The next time was as the fruit itself when I was staying in Singapore. I was still neutral after this although I had to deal with embarrassing durian burps for the next 24 hours. Since then I've had durian a few more times and each time it gets more and more revolting.
|Durian's spiky outer shell|
Can anyone seriously claim to enjoy it?
|This is what's inside.|
I've struggled to imagine why any sane person (and sane may be the key) could possibly call it "the king of fruits", as some people do. Durian defenders will admit that the smell is appalling. Hotel lobbies in South East Asia have signs prohibiting guests to bring it into the hotel. One whiff and the other guests would stampede for the exits.
A Singaporean friend described it to me this way: "It's like sitting on the toilet and eating custard." Now if we change the word "custard" to...no, let's not.
|The smell is nothing short of revolting.|
|Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.|
|Here I am a year later in a different country (but wearing the same shirt) choking|
down a durian milkshake while wistfully eyeing a glass of delicious guava juice.
But describing durian's "exquisite flavour" as "highly flavoured with almonds" and "wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine" sounds like he's writing tasting notes for a new release sauvignon blanc rather than something scooped out of a blocked drain. I can only think that he'd spent too long in the tropics or that he was so sick of nasi goreng that even durian tasted good. But I like to think he just had a wonderfully ironic sense of humour or that he was trying to tempt Charles Darwin to overdose on durian in punishment for his treatment.
|I decided to give this a miss.|
Now if they ran it through a civet first, I might be tempted.
I've made a "HONK IF YOU LIKE DURIAN" bumper sticker and am about to drive through Sydney just to see if I get a response. I suspect it'll be an unusually quiet drive.
Now mangosteens are another matter. They really are the king of fruit.