[NAFEX] Durian, King of fruits?

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Thu Sep 17 16:38:11 EDT 2009

I agree that people can develop a taste for Durian.  I understand how
beloved it is.  I disagree that the farmer tried to get a bad reaction from
Mr. Zimmern - he seemed to want to promote the fruit as a treat, not an
emetic.  I liked reading your experiences with it!


~ Stephen


From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Jwlehman at aol.com
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:26 AM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Durian, King of fruits?


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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