Sunday, June 17, 2012

The King of Fruits

Over the weekend Eric and I joined our friends Paulette and Jeff on an epic Penang adventure. Our mission was to try Durian, the king of fruits.  For most westerners, durian is a stinky, spiny tropical fruit that smells up elevators and torments small children and pregnant women.  Locals are crazy for durian and there is a month long festival to celebrate the king of fruits.  Durian is an acquired taste for most westerners.  Eric and I are convinced that whether or not you enjoy durian is genetic.  We have yet to meet an expat that openly enjoys eating it.

Durian is an attack on the senses.  The smell is pungent and can be best described as a rotting mango that has been left in the sun for days.  The smell lingers long after the fruit is gone and is noticeable to anyone who has ever come in contact with it.  When we first arrived, 11 months ago, the smell was nauseating.  I could hardly ride the elevator without dry heaving if someone had brought a durian home. Now, the smell doesn't bother us and we find it to be rather sweet and not as repulsive. 
The outside of this fruit is very spiny and could cause some damage if it fell out of a tree and hit you in the head.  It is also deceptively heavy.  Our small durian weighed at least 1kg. 
The inside of the fruit is a complete juxtaposition to the outside, soft gooey flesh that is swaddled and protected by the hard outside shell. 
The texture of the fruit is sticky and gooey, while being meaty and chewy.  It's pretty gross.
Not only is the texture bad the taste is worse. Just thinking about how to describe the taste is making my stomach sour and my toes curl.  We've spent the last few days trying to describe the taste and here are a few of our favorites: 
Durian Tastes Like
Caca or another 4 letter word
Rotten fermented onions
A rotten peach that was eaten out of a sweaty armpit

Jeff was the champion eater at our table, managing to eat his entire piece of durian.  Eric took one bite and almost puked.  Paulette swallowed her bite and was finished.  I gave in after two bites.  All in all, durian may be the worst thing we have ever eaten. 

To wash down our durian and get the awful taste out of our mouths, we sampled the Queen of fruits, the mangosteen.  We love mangosteens, they are sweet and delicious and are the complete opposite of durian.  Yummy!
The Queen of fruits
We capped off our fruit exploration with some rambutans, another fleshy and sweet fruit that was so much better then the king.

1 comment:

  1. This is really not making me want to try Durian. My mom loves it, so I brought back some Durian candy and Durian chocolates as a souvenir. Even the little bitty piece of Durian chocolate was gross to me.