Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Durian - the thorny truth

Just recently Stray, Lani and I met up with fellow blogger, Catherine, at Hugh and his lovely wife, Khun Pikun's, home. It was a real treat to meet each other in the flesh and in such hospitable surrounds...the evening went far too fast.

I can't remember if it was before or after I'd finished stuffing myself silly with delicious Northern Thai food, that the topic of durian fruit arose.

Durian fruit has sort of haunted me since we started travelling throughout Asia. Smelling it, before passing it, in the streets. Chuckling at the 'NO Durian allowed' signs on the back of hotel's always been on the 'must try that one day' list.
I was quite encouraged (almost excited) by the positive comments durian received during our conversation that night and the next morning Stray and I stepped out into the corridor of our hotel, only to smell durian...a sign?

Khun K collected me that same day for a trek through Carrfour department store and there sat a mountain of durian.  On advice I went straight for the real thing, nothing whimpy like durian flavoured ice cream, and picked up a pre-peeled sealed packet of segments, not a whole fruit.
Not what I'd call the cheapest fruit on offer, these four morsels were priced at 65 Baht. And, as the description I'd read on the Internet years ago, 'tasting like a cross between onion and cat p**s', ran through my mind, they were lucky to make it into the shopping trolley.

A good fifteen minutes later the aroma was wafting through Khun K's car, even though it was safely contained in its sealed packet, inside a plastic shopping bag within the dark depths of the trunk!..and it was not a hot day.

Later than evening I surprised Stray with our exotic culinary adventure. This is just after his first bite. Sorry Stray!
He looks like he's dry reaching, because I believe he is. But, amazingly he kept eating it. So all of the wonderful things I'd heard about durian must be true? I chose the smallest portion and took a bite and I must say it had a creamy, luxurious, silky texture...and if weren't for the overpowering taste of onion (I can't vouch for the cat pee thing) and stench, it would have been heavenly.

Stray's verdict? "Now get it out of here".

And like onions can and do, the durian experience was repeated all night long!

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Brunty said... Best Blogger Tips

I love durian but has to be very ripe and soft, goes well with vanila ice cream.

I cannot believe people have tried cat's piss so they could compare it to durian. Braver than I.

The smell is terrible and I did a big no-no once by putting some leftovers in the fridge one night.

The stink opening the door the next day was a ripper.

Lani said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, girl...girl, girl.

That photo of Stray is HILARIOUS. Every single time I scroll to it I bust out giggling.

Ye-ah. Picture says it all.

I think marriages can be tested this way, chai mai?

Good on you for tryin' it! BAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAA

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Brunty, I just can't understand the concept of getting past the smell to eat it? Why not just eat a non smelly fruit?

Lani, I don't think Stray has seen this post yet, so the photo may be short lived ;)

Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

Hahhh! Great post Snap :-)

When we were flying back to Bangkok the smell of durian was wafting through the plane. I don't know how they snuck it onboard, but they did.

So by the time I got back I just HAD to buy some the following day. Gawd, I love that stuff.

"Why not just eat a non smelly fruit?"

Because none can compare. Yup. There's a good reason it's called the King of Fruits and you'll only find out for real if you let yourself enjoy it.

Btw - you are supposed to eat the Queen of Fruits (mangosteen - cooling) with the King of Fruits (durian - heating)... it's supposed to stop the repeating.

I'm not sure how true that is because I don't usually have a problem with durian.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine I don't think anyone would have to have the actual fruit on the plane, for it to smell. Just a bag that once held a durian would do the job ;)

I tasted Mangosteen for the first time a couple of weeks ago, from a local Chiang Rai market...yum! I was amused at the little flower pattern on their base which tells you how many segments are inside.

Unfortunately I bought some more from the supermarket in CM and they were mushy and tasteless. I guess you have to know how to pickem'.

Megan said... Best Blogger Tips

I tired durian last year when I first got here with some friends and we almost had to spit it out. I wish I had some pictures. So, yeah, I feel your pain!

Jealous of the meet-up. Hope you guys had fun!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Megan I guess it's like tasting Vegemite for the first time....and last, for some! I just don't get the Durian phenomenon.

The meet up was great, but way too short!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I think the photo is unnecessary

Veiga said... Best Blogger Tips

I invite you to view my: it you will know a l small country, very old but with good people, good food and beautiful landscapes: Portugal. I write and I speak a little English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese-This one interesting for language learning, but you can make comments in English

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Anonymous You would ;)

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Veiga thank you for visiting Cooee and your invitation to your blog...I wish I could read Portuguese! :( Your photos look very interesting.

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap I tried durian many years ago I whilst I can't say I really liked it I couldn't say I disliked it either. It has a strange mysterious kind of taste that tempts you to try another small nibble.

I was told it was a very fattening fruit as well as being a very smelly one too.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn your reference to durian being fattening led me to dig a little deeper. According to; “There is a definite musk note in the fruit - far muskier than musk melon or other common foods. Tigers and other jungle animals are said to smell the fruit from long distances and seek it out. The rotten aromas probably include some of the copulins. This may have an effect on some people.”

'Definite musk note' is certainly an interesting way to describe the smell.

Fattening? I guess for a fruit, it is, with just over 5 grams of fat and 27 grams of carbs, per 100 grams...another reason for me not to conquer the durian! But, each to their own ;)

Talen said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, I have eaten a lot of weird things in Thailand but even I won't go near durian...the smell is awful and I have never heard the taste described much better than foul.

All that and it's loaded with cholesterol...yum

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Talen, it had to be done sooner or later. I suppose you either love it or hate it...there's no in between!

Lawrence Michaels said... Best Blogger Tips

Every time I smell a Durian I think that there's a gas leak somewhere. Even if it was the most delicious fruit on Earth, I would never buy it or have it lying around, the stench is just too much. Maybe I'm just biased because I use to live near a Durian fruit stand. Driving every day I could smell it about 1km up the road and then another 1km down the road after I had passed it.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Lawrence Michaels the smell has the ability to seep into everything close by and linger on for days. I don't think I could live near a Durian stand for too long.

PS. sorry for the late response...attending wedding in Vietnam :)