That my friends (if you are seeing the featured picture in this post) is Durian. The self-proclaimed “king” of fruit. Not sure who gave it this title, but for those who love it, it’s a fact. Loving it isn’t easy. I was first introduced to the thorny ball of stench shortly after I was married, nearly 20 years ago. It took me nearly 19 of these years to finally get the courage to put its custard like pulp down the pipe, and for those 19 years I stood as a staunch critic to its grossness.
Look, here is the deal. In its unopened form it looks like a weapon, something they would launch from a gauntlet in medieval times. Something you would put a chain on swing it at your enemy while riding a horse in battle. Something “Braveheart-ish”. When its thick skin it split up open with a an industrial sized machete the courage for the newly introduced eater is immediately second guessing themselves. The stuff stinks and stinks bad. Think dirty sweaty socks, after a marathon, combined with sewage. Not the smell for something titled the “king” of anything. For 19 years I had 2 rules for my wife and the eating of the fruit. Option 1 – Do not purchase or even consider bringing this into my home so long as I live. Option 2 – You can eat it in our house, if and only if, I am not at home, AND if I only if, I am gone for at least 2 days. (for the record these rules were not followed during these 19 years, not once, though I do have to say when my wife did purchase it she hid it from me till the last-minute and brought it out late at night after company had already arrived). The stuff reeks of stench and the smell lingers for days. (especially if there is left overs she stows in the back of the fridge, like I don’t know, RIGHT?).
And then……..and then my pride was shattered. After 19 years of bellyaching over the stuff and putting on a show my wife forced me to eat “1 spoonful” and my 19 years of disgust turned into pure enjoyment. The first bite was “meh….okay, this stuff isn’t THAT bad”, after a few minutes the wife begged me to have another bite, and once again my pride took a back seat and I said, “okay, I guess”. My life changed. I started having cravings and the sweats when you walk past it in the Asian Market.
The problem is Durian is not readily available in the US….and, if you do find it, it’s expensive. Like $5.00/lb. In more asian populated places you can find it occasionally for a buck cheaper per pound, be regardless, with each whole fruit weighing around 7 or 8 lbs, it becomes and expensive indulgence. The second issue, as with all fruit, is you never know if the one you choose is good or not. My wife and I have had numerous conversations over the box of durian asking those who seem much more wise “how to pick the best one”. Some durian experts (or at least they acted like they were then we asked them for advice) say it’s the weight. Pick one that feels heavy . Others say it has to do with its creases, the larger the creases and bumps the better. While we listened, each time is was hit and miss.
Okay, enough of the blah blah blah, let’s get back to the “king” of fruit and why I am now Durian lover. I compare the texture to a stringy custard, talking like the best frozen custard ice cream you can find, like the kind that is 90% butterfat. The taste is like hard to explain. (My wife and I have tried to sum this up after pounding an entire durian on 3 straight nights recently) The best explanation for its taste is a sweetness, savory with a hint of a garlic flavor after you indulge bite after bite. (I know, I know, just trust me, it’s good.) In a good durian you have about 4 pockets of fruit, each pocket has roughly the same amount of fruit as a two scoop ice cream cone. For normal people, 1 durian should satisfy 5-6 people, when you become Durian snobs, like my wife and I, we sit down to 1, break it open and enjoy ourselves for about 20 minutes. Closing our eyes and sloshing the goodness around your mouth with each bite and slow saying “ittttsssssss.soooooooo.goooooood”.
Our habit took a turn for the better when arrived in Hong Kong, 2 weeks ago. It’s about 1/2 price in the US and about 10x fresher. Again, 3 nights in a row we pounded an entire durian. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Happiness. To us….Durian is the KING of fruit and welcome in my home anytime.
When I am not blogging my real job is a fortune cookie maker. We make personalized fortune cookies, with your personalized message inside. Visit us at http://www.tankinz.com or http://www.fortunecookieplanet.com!