Durian is a fruit native to Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. It is widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the ‘king of fruits’ but to many westerners it is almost like a curse.
The durian fruit is large, has a unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The unique odour is strong and penetrating even with the husk still intact. Because of this odour, to those who find this fruit fragrant, it is the ‘king of fruit’ but to those who find the aroma offensive and stinking, would call it as a curse. The smell evokes interesting reactions among westerners and also Asians, from deep appreciation to intense disgust. It is no wonder that the aroma has caused the banishment of the fruit from certain hotels and public transportation in Asia.
Very diverse reviews about the fuit has been made. The one below was written by British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1856:
“A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes… It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. … as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed.”
But other interesting reviews about durian are not quite as appreciating as the one above. Read a review by a much later reviewers:
“Eating durian is like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory.” – Anthony Burgess.
Some more comparisons have been made with stale vomit, skunk spray, pig-shit garnished with a gym sock and sewage. To durian fans, however, the fruit smells like heavenly aroma with a strong fragrant of alcohol and a deep flavour of sweet caramel.
It is very interesting to see that you can divide the whole world into 2 groups. The group of people who deeply appreciates durian and the other group who is just intensely disgusted by it. There is nobody in the middle.
If you would like to try durian, make sure that you get rid of the aroma from your breath and your hands by pouring water into the empty shell of the fruit and drink from it and clean your fingers in it. It will neutralize the strong odour of the fruit.
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