Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Photo of Monthong and Kan Yao Durians in a South Asian market

From Wikipedia:

The durian (IPA: [ˈdʊəriən, -ɑn][1]) is the fruit of trees of the genus Durio belonging to the Malvaceae, a large family which includes hibiscus, okra, cotten, mallows and linden as the "King of Fruits," the fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lbs). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on the species. Widely known and revered in Southeast Asia.

The hard outer husk is covered with sharp, prickly thorns while the edible flesh within emits a distinctive odour, which is regarded as either fragrant or overpowering and offensive. The odour of the ripe fruit is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Due to the unusual odour, the durian is forbidden from certain establishments such as hotels and public transportations in Southeast Asia. The odour has prompted many people to formulate evocative descriptions with views ranging from those of deep appreciation to intense disgust.

This is a very good account of what a durian tastes like.

What to do with a Durian:

1. Eat it.

2. Make ice cream with it, then eat it (please see the following post for this spectacular adventure).

3. Massage the soles of aching tango feet with it (No, actually, scrap that - did you mention "sharp prickly thorns"? Bad idea).

4. Tip for frustrated DJs who want to clear the room: Open one up and within seconds, the pungent fragrance will motivate your patrons to exit the milonga on a quest for fresh air. This tactic is much more effective than playing tanda after tanda of De Caro and De Angelis back-to-back for an hour, or playing twenty different kinds of "post-modern" "international" and "alternative" "tangos" without cortinas or tandas starting at 10:30 p.m. because you really, really want to make sure that everyone has left by midnight.*

5. You've run out of roses but you still really want to show your sincere appreciation of Fabio's Fancy-Falutin', High-Kicking, Space Consuming Macho Tango Ballet of Hyper-Virility in the middle of your favourite milonga?

Can we suggest a cascade of Durians?**

* This happens to be a true story. Guess who the fabulous DJ was?

Remember, the Durian is the "King of Fruits" - what else would be a more fitting tribute for certain other special "Kings of Fruits"!


MIM Tango said...

Aggggh! The durian! Jani & i first encountered the durian in Thailand and Malaysia in 2005. Being the adventurous foodies we are, we ordered a sweet sticky rice dessert with durian... *shudder*... Somehow Jani managed to eat it all (i was only able to handle a couple bites). Well after that, simply the smell had me gagging (yes people, the smell is that bad and we even have a picture of a sign on a hotel door forbidding the nasty fruit :) And yet we apparently wanted to torture ourselves more because we ordered a durian pankake 5 weeks later. YUK! We'll stick with our favourite fruit which we also discovered in Asia - the mangosteen. YUMMY!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Jani and Kristina,

Thailand and Malaysia has the best, creamiest, most pungent Durians in the world..... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Man Yung says that the Durian only seems pungent and nasty because it's "fragrance" is too vivid and intense for human senses to comprehend. If you dilute 200 times you will end up with a captivating top note that would be suitable for any fancy french perfume! Eau de Durian!

Toronto Weather

Buenos Aires Weather