I have to admit that I am pretty lucky when it comes to friends. I’ve managed to surround myself with a pretty adventurous crowd of people who always like to push their culinary boundaries. May it be braving the snow to fry a turkey in the back yard, or seeking out Chinese soup dumplings and cold pig ear salad, my friends are pretty much up for anything. And yes, this includes the infamous durian fruit.
So one afternoon I found myself at the home of The Red Menace for my first durian tasting. For those of you not familiar with durian, allow me to point you towards the Wikipedia article. It will save us both some time I’m sure.
I do admit to being pretty nervous about this afternoon. I was genuinely worried that the smell would get the best of me. I had visions of myself turning green and hiding under a bush with a clothespin on my nose, or worst yet…getting an unexpected visit from my breakfast.
The durian itself is heavy with hollow spikes. This is definitely something that is not something you want to carry around with you. Regardless, we all insisted on touching it anyway:
Before we cut into it, there really wasn’t that much of a smell coming from the durian. There was just a faint smell of onions oddly enough. Nothing too scary. So we all prepared ourselves as to dive on in.
When the smell hit me, it started off rather sweet. Not so bad. But then the durian got closer and I got a better whiff of the finish. Think sweet fruit and onions that have been left out in the sun and are just starting to turn. It smells like it’s rotting. Much to my relief though, the smell wasn’t nearly as strong as I thought it was going to be and it was just kinda icky rather than horrifying and vomit inducing. The Red Menace suspected that the smell wasn’t too strong because the durian might have been previously frozen, also she had heard that durian from different regions can vary in strength.
The durian itself reminded me of an almond custard. There was a sweet fruitiness at the beginning that reminded me of melon, but then the finish was almost creamy and tasted like almond butter. All-in-all I could see why people would go nuts over this. The consistency was custard-like as well, but had fibers running through it, kinda like the furry stuff around a mango pit, only these fibers were longer and maybe even a bit tougher. The fibers also had a drying quality that coats the top of your mouth like when you eat a really unripe banana or persimmon.
Final consensus was that I liked it, but I was too afraid to go back and eat more because some people were reporting an onion taste in their bites. I figured it was best to quit while I was ahead. Escaping with no regrets can often be essential to having a positive food adventure experience.