Half of us love it, half of us loathe it. In any case, it's smell is infamous and nobody likes it.
Durians are grown in Thailand and are so smelly that they're illegal indoors. They also have to be frozen when shipped overseas for the same reason.
I have been wondering for many months now what my opinion of the durian would be. I tend to like foods and smells others find a little unusual, so I was optimistic.
Well, I finally found where they keep the durians in the T&T Asian Market and bought one. They were hiding in a giant freezer behind a pillar in the meat section... hmm.
We probably looked a little strange walking through the market, my mom and me; two white women on a mission holding a giant spiky, tropical fruit. But then that's Vancouver culture for you, and I love it.
Okay - so my durian experience. It began to smell a lot more once it thawed, and my dad immediately recognized the scent. My mom and dad lived in Thailand for many years and ate a lot of durian. They both love it, but like most people, my dad can't stand the smell. I personally think it smells like really sweet rotting fruit... not as bad as it sounds!
We sliced it open after I noticed it starting to split - a sign of ripeness - and I got my first look at the guts. They were giant yellowish pods and they had the texture of custard. In each pod there's a seed.
I had my first bite... YUM!
I liked it! Wouldn't use the word love, as I thought I would... but it was very tasty. Like nothing you have EVER tasted. I can only describe it as fruity, almond-y, and toasty and the same time. I advise everyone to try a durian. Whether you like it or not, it's a unique and fun experience. My brothers' reactions were absolutely hysterical - we were literally all on the ground laughing.
Sufficed to say, they did not like the durian.
Now what can you actually DO with durian? We just ate it plain, but apparently there are tons of options. It is often used in baking and desserts. Some great raw options are to add it to smoothies and make raw milkshakes. Or you can make durian custard, flavouring as you want. Next time we buy a durian, I think I'll get creative.