Don’t. Just don’t.
Why not? Well, reason number one, and possibly you’ve heard of this before, if you’ve even ever heard of a durian before, is the smell.
English needs more words to describe smells. We have so few! Let’s just say that smelling a durian up close and personal is kind of like smelling a flower. It’s a nice fruity mango kind of flower–that’s gone bad. Maybe even mixed with a little onion and a little fish? It’s the kind of smell that was endemic in grocery stores in China, always making you wonder what exactly they kept in the store that had just gone off (Spoiler–it was durians).
But. In spite of the smell, we persevered. This is a favored fruit in all of Asia, and especially popular with Singaporeans, so this was a valuable cultural experience. Aren’t you glad I was experiencing it for you?
The outside of a durian is hard and poky. Very very poky. So poky that the people who cut them up wear gloves. We had a glove-wearing person cut ours up for us.
Actually, Singaporeans love the durian so much they call this building the durian: it’s round and spiky and was apparently supposed to be a microphone. The architect was quite upset they called it a durian because he’d never heard of one!
But to get back to the edible kind. There is a small amount of edible fruit in each half, and it looks kind of like mango. Not so bad, right? If you can keep from gagging as you approach.
Those who love durian praise the buttery texture, the smooth melt-in-your-mouth sensation as it slides down your throat.
This was not my experience. Sure, it was kinda buttery…mixed with stringy. Oh, and did I mention the smell?
But to get to what you really want to know–how does it taste?
Jared put a small bite on his spoon. I put a small bite on my spoon. I offered it to JQ like the good mother I am, and he turned his face away in disgust. He was not going to join us in this adventure.
Then we took deep breaths (turning our noses away), stuffed the bite in our mouths, and chewed.
It was significantly less sweet than expected. In fact, what it most closely resembled, in my opinion, is caramelized onions. Caramelized onions with a healthy topping of rotten mango and black pepper. If this sounds appetizing to you, by all means, you may eat up all the durian you wish. Just not in my house.
There’s a reason they’re not allowed on public transport or in hotel rooms here!