I mentioned earlier that one of my goals was to try a durian. In one of my previous posts there was a sign (found in the subway) which forbids durians from being take on the train system. The picture is below, and it’s the lower right pictograph.
The reason that durians are forbidden is that they have a particularly strong odor. Ok, perhaps putrid, nasty, retch-causing stench would better describe the smell. Depending on who you ask, the smell is good, to tollerable, to what I’ve described above. Having never tried one, I looked them up on the Internet, and read one highly amusing review by a man who claimed that he still could not get the foul taste out of his mouth, and to run screaming if ever durians were mentioned. After a review like this, I had to try one.
My first adventure into durian territory was with durian pudding. My tireless guide suggested that we try it when we stumbled upon it in a store in chinatown. The pudding definitly smelled bad, that’s for sure. If you can ignore the smell, though, the taste was, well, pudding like. My friend, and tireless guide said that it didn’t taste like durian at all, and that the fruity chunks were not durian either. At this point I stopped eating. Why bother eating something with a horrible smell, and no redeeming qualities, like being a new experence, when I could fill my stomich with something else that was either yummy, or new, or both?
Two days later, it was time to try again. We went to a market, ate lunch, and then bought a durian. Durians, fresh from the tree, have a very sharp and spikey outer shell, and a soft meat around large seeds on the inside. In stores, they do you the favor of husking the durian, so all you have is the meat and seeds. Even though they are wrapped in plastic, you can smell the durians from across the room.
We bought the middle grade durian, at $8 (Singaporian dollars), instead of the low grade $5, or high priced $12. I was told that taste varies between different varieties, so, having only tried the mid-grade option, I suggest that you not cheap-out on your durian experence, or you may end up not enjoying it.
The meat is soft and mushy, with a light skin. Perhaps it was because we had a strong breeze blowing across the table, but the smell wasn’t as noticible. The taste was exactly as the positive reviews described it, like custard. I would highly recommend it.
I was warned that it could cause stomich aches and a slight fever if eaten on an empty stomich. It wasn’t clear to me why.
So if you ever find yourself somewhere where you can buy a durian, I suggest you try it, just watch out for the smell.


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