The King of Stink

10 04 2007

By Jill Ettinger

Raw foodists love Durians, the South Pacific’s dangerously jagged fruit. Seriously. They pay crazy amounts of money to get fresh pulp flown overnight, packed in dry ice. (The only way to get it fresh in the US.) It’s a phenomena, and only seems to be an obsession amongst the hardcore 100% uncooked. Most everyone I know who has ever tried Durian has one, if not a whole prickly bunch, of very interesting stories to tell. One thing to take under advisement – if you’ve never had Durian – is that these things STINK.  No words can do the odor justice. You’ll never forget the smell (though you may spend the rest of your life wishing you had), even if your encounter was brief. These things are actually banned from public consumption in countries like Singapore. Whether or not you enjoy the taste matters not as much as your ability to be in the same room as one, even days after it has been consumed. And yet, considering most folks in this country don’t even know that tomatoes are actually a fruit, it’s refreshing to read a NY Times piece on one you’ll only find in the frozen section of an Asian food market.

It’s interesting that the creation of a less pungent variety is making such a “stink.” However gnarly and repulsive these things might be to many, surely every one agrees they are an absolutely fascinating work of nature, quite deserving of their nickname: the “King of Fruits.” Hey, too bad there’s no youwhiffit.com.

[Ed note: I’ve had one. Well, a bite of one, that I barely swallowed. The smell falls somewhere between raw onion and spoiled cabbage, or, better put, a whole party of spoiled cabbages. While the texture is surprisingly sensual, the aftertaste is anything but – as is the cutting open of the corpse to get to it. DB]

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