D is durian. My dear blogging friend Sarah graciously has contributed this wonderful post about her experience with this very unusual fruit. I am so pleased she offered to share this for the blogging challenge. The only place I have ever seen durian before is on Chopped on Food Network TV.
By Sarah Summerlin
When I first moved to Kuala Lumpur, I could not understand what the nauseating smell was that hit me when entering some grocery stores. Not the stores marketing to expats like me, but the ones the ones where the locals shopped, the bumiputra and others. My stomach would seemingly flip in on itself and stifling a gag reflex, I would work my way through the produce section as quickly as possible to reach the drygoods aisles where the smell was less intense.
As a newcomer in the country, the older residents loved to tease about durian: Have you tried it yet? Have you seen the ‘No Durian’ signs in some establishments? As a person who loves, and can at the very least tolerate, a wide range of foods, it took me a long time to realize that that nauseating smell was actual coming from ripe fruit that many consider a delicacy. The ‘No Durian’ signs in hotels and shops were no joke. The smell was intense and not universally appreciated. Later, as I grew more savvy, I learned to hold my breath as I walked past the outdoor durian stands.
But if you think for a minute that that stopped me from trying durian, think again. I wasn’t going to live in an area in which it was so accessible and never have the experience no matter how repugnant the smell. My opportunity came during a city-wide scavenger hunt organized by some colleagues in which one of the items to accomplish was to (no surprise) try durian.
The outside of the fruit is greenish and spiky, whereas the inner fruit is yellowish (more or less in different varietals). Each packet of yellowish fruit is encased in a thin, edible skin, and I’d describe the consistency of the inside as like a very, very ripe avocado. Easy to mash with a fork if one so chose.
I’ve heard the taste compared to onions or garlic or stinky cheese. Now, I love onions, garlic, and stinky cheese so I would never insult those delicious foods by comparing them to durian. To me, durian tastes like rot. Some have tried it and disliked it; I tried it, and to this day I still shiver. I am fighting back a gag reflex while typing this. (Seriously, I just took a minute to take some deep breaths.) How anyone could like this fruit is astonishing to me, but I know it is true. I’ve seen it enjoyed.
But perhaps you love durian. Or maybe you’re an adventurous eater who knows where to find it (I hear it can be bought frozen in the US). If so, here are some recipes to tempt you.
Durian ice cream
Durian pancake with almond praline and gula melaka caramel sauce
Thank you, Val, for having me! Durian is such a funny topic to share with other people. I’m interested in hearing who else has tried it, and especially if any of your readers like it!
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