A Taste of Durian

 

03 DurThis Southeast Asian fruit evoked our intrigue. It’s a green, hedgehog-shaped fruit, about the size of a football, with a hard spiked shell and a creamy center with large seeds.

Regarded as “the king of fruits,” the durian is particularly distinctive for its strong odor. In fact, one of our hotels not only had a no smoking policy, but banned durian as well. Naturally, we were curious, yet cautious about trying this infamous fruit.

It’s a seasonal fruit, now becoming more scarce, because it’s the tail end of the season. We found a truck along the road outside of Chiang Mai piled with durian, so we took a chance. There are many varieties, but we’re not sure which we tried. The fragrant aroma we had braced ourselves for was non existent, even as the woman cut into the fruit through the hard, tough shell and dug out hunks of the pulpy flesh.

Sampling it hesitantly, we found the creamy, buttery texture similar to an over-ripened banana but not as sweet. We probably ate a third of the fruit before our tastebuds had had enough. Shortly after, we noticed an onion taste in our mouths, no doubt a prelude of the internal heat durians generate after they’re eaten.

We are told that the more times you sample durian, the more you will grow to love them. One variety was described as creme brulee but with more personality. I believe I could easily become addicted to fruit that tastes like creme brulee! But, for our first try, I would describe it as interesting, and not something I would choose again real soon.