Durian is a funny looking, large, spikey, green fruit that is popular throughout out South East Asia. It is loved by many while others can’t stand to be within 100 feet of it. The fruit has a strong potent smell that many describe as being similar to petrol and/or rotten onions. The smell is considered revolting to many and since it is so strong the fruit is often banned in many places like on public transportation, in hotels and other public places.
It took me until my second trip to South East Asia to attempt to try this fruit for the first time while I was traveling through Terengganu, Malaysia. At the Chinatown market in Kuala Terengganu, various vendors line the main street selling the fruit and you can smell them as you approach before you can even see them.
Lucky for me I found a great vendor who let me try a piece for free so I didn’t need to bother with buying a whole fruit. (That definitely would not of been allowed back on the bus with me.) I even tried to give him a couple of ringits for my sample but he wouldn’t take it, rather he enjoyed watching my experience trying the fruit.
At first the smell although strong didn’t really bug me. It actually smelled sweet however I think it was the texture that put me over the edge. I just wasn’t prepared for how odd it was going to be. I have never seen a fruit like this before. It had a malleable membrane and under that it was a creamy substance instead of being solid like a melon or juicy like a berry. It was literally like nothing I had seen before.
I picked up the fruit and took my first bite and it slopped into my mouth. Now in my mouth the aromas filled my olfactory bulb and overwhelmed my sense of smell. The first words out of my mouth, “Nope. Nope I do not like this at all.”
It tasted of rotten onions, was kind of salty, and burned a bit. Apparently depending on the season the fruit is either sweet or bitter. To me it was all over the place and wrong. I could not fathom how someone would LOVE this fruit.
I handed off the remaining fruit to my friend Malcolm from Singapore who eagerly devoured it as it is delicious to him. However then I was left to deal with getting the taste out of my mouth and getting it off of my hand.
The fruit stall guy had me drink water out of the pod of the fruit. I’m not sure if this was a good way to get rid of the taste or if he just thought it would be something funny to make a tourist do. Then he poured water on my hands to help me clean them and I grabbed a wet nap from my purse (always travel with wet naps) to try to get rid of it from my hand.
The taste eventually went away but reappeared in a nasty burp as it digested. TMI I know, but these are the things people want to know when trying new foods!
To enjoy my experience watch my video:
Before trying the fruit I did do some research about it and some of the things I read said that you might hate it your first time but the second time you try it you might love it. Although it was pretty nasty I would try it again just to see if I can learn to love it.
Until next time Durian.
Have you ever tried it? What was your experience? What other odd foods have you eaten on your travels?
Special thanks to the Terengganu Tourism board for hosting me in Malaysia. As always all opinions and views expressed are my own… as are the nasty things I sometimes taste. ;)