Monday 6 September 2010

Fruit: Durian (Part 1 -- Flavour and Odour)

D24 on tree
Image from

Durian, durian, durian. How many of you like it? *I'm seeing some hands raised* How many of you love it? "I'm seeing more hands raised* Okay, since I don't see any objection, I'm going to talk about this majestic "King of Fruits".

Everybody knows that the fruit has thorns that can kill anyone with one blow (if the person walked below and tree and was hit on the head by a falling fruit), everyone knows that this fruit is either smelly or smell lovely, but what interests me most is how else can we describe the flavour and odour of this fruit, so that we can speak with variety and taste.

So, how do we learn from? As always, someone first on my list of the coolest dining experts in the world,

"Anthony Bourdain, a lover of durian, relates his encounter with the fruit as thus: "Its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother." ("

His simile is really lively. What's even cooler is, Wikipedia cited the season and the episode of which Anthony Bourdain said it, and of course, I have it here for you and in the entry I wrote about him:

Anthony Bourdain : No Reservation Season 2 Episode 12 -- (From 5:45)

He also added that the durian has "penetrating and persistant odour" and in fact, earlier on in the show (4:15) of part 1 of the same episode, he also describe Indonesia as durian, "exotic, foul-smelling food, some can stop it, while others can't resist." 

We don't stop here, the same Wikipedia page did homework for me, collecting a number of comments from durian-loving authors:

Writing in 1856, the Britishnaturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, "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." and "To those not used to it, it seems at first to smell like rotten onions, but immediately they have tasted it they prefer it to all other food."

British novelist Anthony Burgess writes that eating durian is "like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory."

 Chef Andrew Zimmerncompares the taste to "completely rotten, mushy onions."

Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says: "... its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away."

How would you describe durian now after learning from the experts? It's not that hard, is it? You just need a lot of imaginations and then putting them into words. Hm~~! Thinking about it makes me hungry, care for a Cat Moutain  King, anyone?

Cat Mountain King

Gas leaking!!!! Yeah!!! I love that!

majestic -- (adj) beautiful, powerful or causing great admiration and respect
indescribable -- (adj) impossible to describe, especially because of being extremely good or bad
despise-- (vb) [T not continuous] to feel a strong dislike for someone or something because you think they are bad or have no value
penetrating -- (adj) moving into or through something
persistent -- (adj) lasting for a long time or difficult to get rid of
exotic  -- (adj) unusual and often exciting because of coming (or seeming to come) from a far, especially tropical country
foul-smelling --(adj) extremely unpleasant
wafts -- (n) [C] literary a smell or smoke which moves through the air
incongruous -- (adj) unusual or different from what is around or from what is generally happening
garnish -- (vb) [T] to decorate food with a small amount of different food