[NAFEX] Durian, King of fruits?

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Thu Sep 17 08:26:10 EDT 2009

In a message dated 9/17/2009 12:40:22 AM Central Daylight Time, 
Docshiva at Docshiva.org writes:

> Anyone watch Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern?  He travels the world 
> eating weird stuff: eyeballs, bugs, cheese with live maggots, still-moving 
> tentacles, that sort of thing.  The only thing he found so vile and disgusting 
> that he immediately threw up afterward was durian.  

Dear Group,

I have eaten durian several times in my travels. That is what fruit 
exploring is all about. 

My first exposure was in the south of China, near the China Sea. It was in 
a farmers fruit market. They delighted in having me smell it, watching my 
reaction at the first smell, then laughing when through my wrinkled up face I 
said no to purchasing one. 

The second experience and first taste was in Thailand, at the home of a 
local well educated family who had invited Barbara and I for dinner.  They 
treated us to a variety of local tropical fruits and vegetables, including 
durian.  Barbara couldn't get up enough courage to try it as she had smelled the 
one in China. I ate seconds. 

It is my opinion that some people like to startle first time tasters with 
durian just as giving unsuspecting people green astringent persimmons. The 
people in the China market delighted in my facial expressions to the aroma of 
a variety that had a strong limburger aroma. I suspect Zimmerman was 
deliberately given a specially bad stinky variety with equally foul taste. Adds to 
the show! 

The durian I've eaten was pealed first, removing the skin, which reduces 
(not totally eliminates) the foul aroma. It is best eaten by not smelling it 
first. I've not had enough to "develop a taste" for it, but will eat it again 
if the opportunity presents itself. 

Breeders of durian have been working to reduce the limburger cheese smell 
of durian and now have varieties that are being sold in US markets that carry 
very little bad aroma, but still not an inviting aroma in my opinion. Just 
as in apples, there is a great variety in durian. The taste of some 
varieties is slightly sweet but still one must develop a taste for.  

While traveling in China last December with a travel group I purchased 
durian flavored candy in the Xian airport. There was a couple from Indonesia in 
the group and they enjoyed the candy and asked for seconds.  A lady from NY 
(as I recall) asked to try one and promptly spit it out, with force. Some 
sucked the hard piece until gone but didn't ask for another. I still have some 
of that durian flavored candy here in my office. I'm not a big hard candy 
eater and very honestly enjoy this even less. 

If someone would like to experience the taste of durian, send me a self 
addressed $1 stamped envelope and I'll send a piece, while the supply lasts. 
The candy was made in Thailand and pieces are individually wrapped so should 
be sanitary. None of us got sick from eating it in the airport.   

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