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Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Q. What fruit looks like a sea-urchin and smells like the city dump on a hot summer's day?

A. Durian

Here are other descriptions of the unforgettable odour of a durian - stinky socks, butane gas, rotting fish, Camembert cheese, skunk spray etc. The husband of a Malaysian pally visiting from America described the taste of durians as 'eating custard in the toilet' .Chef Andrew Zimmern compares the taste to "completely rotten, mushy onions while the 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds."

Hailed as the "King of Fruits" in Southeast Asia, the durian is formidable-looking with its spiky husk.The world durian means 'thorny' in Malay and Indonesian. Once, I witnessed a street fight when rival gangs were hurling the lethal fruits at one another.

The pale yellow flesh emits a very pungent odour that lingers for days. While durian aficionados find the aroma heavenly, others regard the smell as overpowering, malodorous and disgusting.

In Southeast Asia, it is not uncommon to see signs like this prohibiting the fruit in hotels, hospitals and public transportation.

The fruits are not plucked from the trees. Ripened fruits that fall to the ground are collected. It is believed that a durian has eyes and can see where it is falling because the fruit allegedly never falls during daylight hours when people may be hurt. Rarely have I heard of someone hit by a falling durian!

When our Danish neighbours first moved into our condo, they reported the smell of leaking gas to the management office. Upon investigation, it turned out that the odour came from one of the units where a durian party was held!!

Durians, anyone?!!


  1. How could someone eat something that tastes so horrible?

  2. Love the mental picture of a street gang hurling Durians at each
    I have seen these on Bizarre Foods and other programs like that. I love to watch others try it, but as adventurous as I think I am when it comes to food...that I will never try :)

  3. Oh my gosh!!!!!! Wow, who would want to eat that??? I'm assuming it's an acquired taste!

    LOL, at the "durian fight!" But, I can imagine that being hit hard with one of those could really hurt!!

  4. I've never seen that fruit before. The inside looks like the womb of a woman carrying twins. I don't think i can get pass the smell. ugh

  5. That is bizarre looking! Really interesting that it stinks so much!

  6. I would love to try it just because I'm curious as to the taste. Do you like it, Veronica?

  7. Oh durian! I had to taste durian for an assignment. It was not pretty!! It was slimy but did not go smoothly down my throat. I think the fact that it smelled so awful made it so yucky in taste; I smelled it first before I tasted it.