Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Durian: Yummy Fruits A-Z

Durian has been said to smell like rotten fruit, dirty gym socks, smelly armpits, and sewage. True, true, it is all true! I lived in Malaysia for nine months in 1995-96, and you could smell this fruit a block or more away.

I still remember the durian truck that lumbered through our neighborhood one afternoon, the driver honking his horn, the neighbors gathering with excitement as he approached. Malaysians love this fruit! At twelve inches long and six inches wide on average, and with a thorny husk as hard as a nut, durian is one funky-looking fruit.

Durian is native to southeast Asia, dating back to prehistoric times, but has only been known to the western world for about 600 years. Durian trees can grow from 60 to 164 feet tall. One fruit weighs around 3.3 pounds and can fetch a surprisingly high price. A high quality durian in Singapore, it is said, can cost as much as $50 U.S dollars! It has long since earned a reputation as the "King of the Fruits."  

Durian is eaten fresh, cooked as a vegetable, boiled, roasted and fried and added to various dishes, and sugared as a confection. Nutritionally, durian is a good source of dietary fiber, thiamine, vitamin B6, Manganese, and high in vitamin C. 

There are a lot myths surrounding this fruit, among them its aphrodisiac qualities and lethality when consumed with alcohol, neither of which has been proven. But one myth that is true is the legal damage a durian can do landing on one's head (as posted signs sometimes warn!). 

Durian Recipes

I don't have an official recipe to share, as the likelihood of finding durian in the U.S. is next to none. Ways prepared include durian mixed with chilies in a spicy Sambal sauce and durian mixed in curry sauce served over fish and vegetables. 

However, I saw Malaysians eating durian fresh and wanted to try. I bought a slice at the market one day, plugged my nose, 
and took a small bite. Once I got past the odor and slimy texture, it tasted a bit like squash.......but with a strong after taste....and then there was the odor problem. The vendor thought my sample was under ripe and should taste sweeter than squash. I later discovered Durian ice cream at the store. I thought, Wow, ice cream, how bad could that be? 

(Durian Ice Cream at Pink's)
SPIT OUT, SPIT OUT! It was the worst ice cream I had ever tasted. So.....imagine my surprise when I discovered online that it is now served at Pink's Ice Cream shop in Seattle, WA. You don't have to travel to Malaysia to sample it! 

I challenge you....next time you are in Seattle, stop by Pink's and give Durian Ice Cream a try. If you become a fan, I really want to know.


Durian Jokes



Said the Puffer fish to the Durian: 

"I'm in love, I'm in love!"




No  joke!

We saw signs like this at upscale hotels in Singapore and Malaysia.


Durian Books



Durian: King of Tropical Fruits by S. Ketsa (2001) (nonfiction)


Durian by Kelly Weisheit (2010)  
(With her family murdered, young Shekrah 
escapes to the Kingdom of Durian, where she meets the prince of Durian, Torian)




So How Smelly Is Durian? (video link)



Durian Song (video link)


"Durian" by Zainal Alam (1950)

Zainal Alam (1926-1991) was born in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. A popular performer in his day, he has been called the 'Bob Hope' and 'Bing Crosby' of Malaysia. (Song is in Malay).









Sources: http://zainalalam-memoirs.blogspot.com/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durian
http://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/DietandNutrition/Pages/durians-8-myths-and-facts-about-the-king-of-fruits.aspx; http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2088/2

36 comments:

  1. Don't think I've ever heard of the durian fruit before!

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  2. If I remember correctly, this is the one food ON the show Bizarre Foods that the man shies away from. It is such a curious thing to me about the smell.....I believe the tales though!

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  3. is this available in India? for some reasons it occurs to me like a fruit i know.. but it doesnt have anythn like the smell you mentioned! am curious nw!

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    Replies
    1. --Hi Heather - It was totally new to me at first.

      --Hi Andrea - I do wonder how people discovered durian. The smell would have kept me away indefinitely. Guess hunger finally won out!

      --Swathi - Welcome! I did not see this in India, although many strange fruits (to me :) come from your country!

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  4. Oh, Sharon - I eat just about anything. But do you mind if I skip this one on my yogurt this morning? I'll grab your "B" (banana) instead.

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  5. Thank you, Sharon for introducing a new fruit to me. I never knew about this fruit until I read your post.I hope I get to see and taste them :)

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  6. I've never heard of this but it cracks me up that it smells like dirty gym socks. LOL.

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    Replies
    1. --Hello Inge! Oh, but maybe the ice cream next time you're in Seattle??

      --Anoosha - Hi! I hope you can try durian day too, but be warned....ha-ha.

      --Hi Julie! Oh, it really does smell that bad. I hope you saw the video!

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  7. Sounds revolting and one fruit I will not be tasting! Thanks for the warning :)
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
    x

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  8. I never heard of this group before, so I'm glad I read this. I'm not sure I could eat something that smelled really bad. One thing I know for sure after reading your post, I will be sure never to walk under one of these trees. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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  9. Who knew there was so much to learn about a smelly fruit like Durian? ;)

    D.B. McNicol
    A to Z: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

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    Replies
    1. --Hi Suzanne! Oh....but you gotta try if ever given the chance. It's a once in a life time experience. Just hold your nose!

      --Debi - hi there! Those trees really are lethal. I worried about coconuts too.

      --Donna - Hello! I've had a lot fun learning about fruit. I'm glad you stopped by.

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  10. I've seen it on cooking shows. I think you can get it in some of the Asian markets in bigger cities in the US.

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  11. Hi Tracy! I think you're right, LA for instance. I wonder though how they handle the odor problem. Happy A-Z ing!

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  12. Hi, I didn't know abt this one, thank u for introducing me to a new fruit, will try to find it in seattle stores .

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  13. I think I'd be too nervous to try the icecream, Susan but enjoyed the post!

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  14. I've never heard of this fruit, but I can just imagine getting hit in the head with one.

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  15. Whew! That must be some potent stuff. No thank you...

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ananya. If you try the ice cream let me know what you think!

      Fran - Hello! Thanks for stopping by.

      Inger - I think helmets may be needed. They are as hard as rocks.

      Hi Crystal--And it is loved by so many, too!!

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  16. Why would anyone eat something that smells so bad? I guess it's an acquired taste. Perhaps it was a dare?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Liz--Maybe....Bu would you try it on a dare?

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  17. It states 'extremely pungent' so I'm guessing Durians icecream is an acquired taste.

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    Replies
    1. Okay, I need some **FIREWORKS** or something. You are follower #100!!!!! Thanks, Space guy!!! Silly, I know, but this makes me want to do a back flip, which I can't do or better not if I know what's good for me :-)

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  18. I've never hear of it. But I'd probably give it a go if it were available.

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  19. This doesn't sound like something I would like, but thanks for educating me. :)

    Yvonne

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    Replies
    1. Jen - Oh, you are braver than some :)

      Eileen - Honestly, I don't blame you. I have no desire to try it a second time.

      Yvonne - Welcome! Thanks for stopping by to visit.

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  20. I've heard about this fruit before but you added a lot more new information about it to my knowledge bank. I didn't realize they went for such a high price. Strange cultural differences.

    Lee
    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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  21. I've seen Durian and wondered what it would taste like. I'm not so sure it's something I want to explore after reading your post! :)
    Visiting from A-Z...thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  22. I feel like I may have tried this when visiting Vietnam. They eat a lot of unusual things in that part of the world...

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  23. I can honestly say I have never heard of this fruit and that I learned some new things today from your posting of it. I would imagine I might never have the opportunity to taste it, so thanks for sharing about it here!

    betty

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    Replies
    1. -Arlee - Some things like the price make little sense to me, but different tastes for different folks!

      -Mary - Try the ice cream next time you're in Seattle...bet they offer samples.

      -Leslie - Lucky you getting to visit Vietnam. I only got as far as Thailand.

      -Betty - It's surprising the varieties of different fruits out there.

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  24. Loved the vids comparing how bad this fruit smells.

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  25. Haha. I first encounter the durian in the Philippines, and I was underwhelmed, and that's putting it mildly. This is not one of God's best...no offense God. :)

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  26. Hehehehe! Never heard of this fruit, but you just added to my very very short list of foods I'm never going to try. And believe me, that takes some doing:-)

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    Replies
    1. -Cathy--Thanks! It is wonderful how much we can learn from the internet.

      -David - Ha.. I wondered if this was a fruit you had tried being so close. God sure has a sense of humor!

      -Damaria - Oh, do try if you get a chance. You will never forget it. Just remember to plug your nose!

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