Durian, the king of fruits

050427-durian-fruit

Durian segment - the part you can eat

Of course I can’t be in Southeast Asia and forget to mention durian fruit.  This is the first post on this blog about durian, but it is so ‘different’ that I’m sure there will be many more to follow.  Pictured here is one inner segment of a durian.  Basically, you eat the visible flesh and underneath are large, semi-soft seeds that you do not eat.  It’s really hard to describe the taste.  Here is a common quote from  British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (via wikipedia):

The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. 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. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. 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.

It’s generally quite difficult to find durian in the Western world.  It is extremely fragrant (many would say in an unpleasant way) and spoils quickly.  The smell is considered rancid enough to merit bans in hotels, taxis, and other public places throughout Southeast Asia.  Even so, there are many advocates of the creamy texture and unique flavor of the fruit.

Because of all this, durian is also known as the king of fruits.  The queen of fruits is the mangosteen and it is often recommended to eat these fruits together.  It is believed the durian raises body temperature whereas the mangosteen cools it so they are eaten in conjunction to counteract the effects of each other.  Part of this may be due to the huge calorie amount in the durian.  In some places it is also considered dangerous to eat durian while drinking alcohol because of this.

What’s my opinion of the durian?  Well, it took some getting used to but now I think it tastes great!

See wikipedia for more information.

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  1. By Durians for sale? on December 4, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    [...] a large crate of the durians I previously mentioned. The previous post didn’t show the outside so here it is. Notice the very sharp and hard [...]

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