An item highly revered by some, and highly disdained by others. (Angela Russell Dictionary)
For today’s final Adventures in Produce feature, I’ve decided to feature a delicacy of fruits: the durian.
The durian is a most unusual tropical fruit, native to Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. I spied it for the first time at my H Mart. These giant, spiky fruits were resting in a freezer in the produce department and I was oh-so-curious.
Turns out, the durian has a rather strong smell.
(Image from Tribe)
In fact, the odor can be so strong that some Asian establishments have banned its presence entirely. (If you think I’m bluffing, just you watch this National Geographic clip on YouTube!)
To be honest, I was more than a tad nervous to try this fruit for the first time. But I knew it would be perfect for this series! So what did I do? I threw a party. Yes, a durian tasting party.
Now I purchased this durian frozen, so I had to let it defrost a couple days prior to the Big Day. I decided to let it defrost in my garage, lest the smell permeate my fridge.
When it came time to hack into it, I decided to do so outdoors, just in case. I had to hurry, because it was starting to rain. Although spiky, it was surprisingly soft. It did take a little knife work to separate it though. Then of course, I went in for a whiff.
I won’t lie. It wasn’t pleasant. But it wasn’t bad as I’d expected.
Here is what it looks like inside:
I think this partly looks so odd because I did a not-so-hot job of slicing through it. You can see some properly cut durian images over at Wikipedia.
Extricating the fruit was disturbing as it seemed almost “fleshy” or like a brain. I can genuinely say I’ve never encountered anything in my produce department quite like the durian. Here is what the fruit looked like once removed.
Now who do you suppose took the first bite? If you guessed me, you guessed wrong. My lovely friend Cassandra had her small son with. We let him be the guinea pig.
Believe it or not, I do think he asked for seconds! At this point I figured, if the little guy can be brave, I can be brave too.
So ready for my tasting experience?
Well, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the durian.
However, it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. It definitely tasted like fruit. But it also tasted like onions. So fruit and onions. The texture was also quite interesting. I should also mention that I completely recognize that a fresh durian may have a different taste and texture. And should I ever get the chance to re-try this fruit fresh, I will.
Because I’d read that durian might be tasty as a smoothie, I made one on the spot using banana, milk, and cinnamon.
Honestly, I wasn’t feeling too hot at this point. In addition to durian, I’d decided to have a bit of a potluck. I made brownies and served canned rambutan, and my friend Misty made fondue. I think it was all a bit much at 10 in the morning. So I sat on the sidelines come smoothie time.
Misty decided that the durian shell looked like a hedgehog. Which then inspired an impromptu craft session. Meet Mr. and Mrs. Durian.
One final tidbit about the durian. It’s touted as an aphrodisiac. One site I stumbled uponsaid there is a saying in Singapore: “when the durians come down, the sarongs go up.” Now this is a little hard to believe, considering the strong smell and taste, but there you have it.
And there you have it, my friends. This month I’ve tried 31 interesting fruits and vegetables in my travels of several local produce departments. Tomorrow I would like to share with you a few things I learned during this adventure.
I hope I’ve entertained and inspired you this month! If so, I would love to hear from you! And I would love to hear if you’ve tried the durian too.
(A huge thank you to my lovely friend Cassandra for photographing this event. Please take a moment and stop by her blog - you’ll find Cassandra is a phenomenal photographer, but she also has a way with words, too.)