It’s not an exaggeration to describe the slow death one can experience from the exposure to a ripe and ready durian fruit. Coined as the “King of Fruits”, many gastronomic enthusiasts just die for it’s fatty, delicate, sweet, soft and silky flesh. Once the spiny shell cracks, the ripe, pungent perfume calls out to the world that consumption is ready. Highly prized throughout Southeast Asian communities , this pricey , Southeast Asian native commodity can hit you deep in the pocket books. This godly fragrant fruit has a passionate following of older, traditional die-hard durian lovers to new, adventurous palettes.
Then there’s the other slow death that some may experience from inhaling the overpowering, ripe fumes that have been compared to rotten flesh or fruit , bad feet and old baby diapers. Yeah, it’s not exactly a pleasant aroma to some and is considered just plain, stinky. But “stinky” is a general term for anyone who has not had the pleasure of standing within 10 ft. of durian. To further describe the smell past the flesh, feet and diaper analogy, we say it’s more like a sweet fart. Everyone knows what a fart smells like (If not, you’re a liar). So, strip away the sharp, fermented element of a fart and add a bit of smooth, sweet, slightly tangy bouquet to the nose, and there you have it. BAM! Hello, DURIAN! Whoa!
Durian is about the size of a small watermelon and has a dangerous woody, extremely spiny exterior. This multipurpose fruit can be a lethal weapon if whirled at the right speed toward your victim. If the spines don’t knock them out, the smell will finish them off. K.O! Two hits, two more points! Once durian starts to ripen , the smell becomes quite obvious. But you have to wait for the one, final big fart that literally cracks the shell open . Once Durian drops this last, powerful bomb, the fruit is ready. Stay to feast on, or run away fast !
Pull apart the shell, you’ll find the inside split into several separate capsules (about 4-7) . Inside each, lays one to about 3 of it’s soft, round/kidney shaped embryo’s. It’s flesh is very soft & mushy (like a very ripe, peeled banana) and extremely pungent. The small, hard seeds hidden inside the soft fruit is discarded, leaving plenty of fruit to savor. Some Southeast Asian countries ban durian from being brought into any public , indoor place. It’s strong, but the fruit is quite appealing if you can get past the smell. So plug your nose (if you choose) , close your eyes and let the durian king take you to a higher level of consciousness.
Story originally published in January 2008.