Call me ignorant or culturally unaware, but I never knew the durian fruits even existed until I came to Asia. I wish I never made its disgusting acquaintance. It is very popular here in Asia so it is hard to avoid at least smelling it a few times. And when you smell it you will know you have, it reeks.
It has been described as a smell that is similar to “turpentine mixed with rotting meat and garnished with a sweaty gym sock”. To me, it smells like a combination of bird poop and gone off milk. How it became so popular was confusing to figure out. Then I thought about blue cheese. I love the smell and the taste of blue cheese, but I’m sure it will repulse anyone smelling it for the first time.
It is referred to as the “King of Fruits” in Asia because, it apparently “tastes like heaven, but smells like hell”. It looks a lot what I would imagine a giant alien creature’s egg to look like. Yet, this gigantic stinker holds a lot of cultural significance. When it’s the season you can find durian in hundreds of different varieties from ice cream to candies to plain pieces, stinking the place up everywhere.
I remember first smelling it when I was traveling with my two close friends, one of them being Chinese and one being from South Africa. I asked them if they could also smell the stench was that was following us around. After smell checking that it wasn’t my own armpits first, of course.
Cool as a cucumber, my Chinese friend turns to us to say “It’s my fruit! I don’t know the name in English. You want to try some?”. Me and my other friend, who was similarly uneducated on the smelly durian fruit, looked at each other in amazement. “A fruit? How can a fruit smell like that Don? It stinks! I think it’s gone off!”
After trying it with Don, I tried the durian ice cream flavor and the dried pieces of durian. I must say, I just cannot get used to it. The rubbery creaminess coupled with the sour smell creeping up my nostrils will probably always be too much for me. I don’t care if it’s the “Archbishop of Fruit”, it just is not for me. I might be culturally ignorant in this instance, but at least I like dog meat.
Durian Fruit photo by freepik