Smells Like Drains, Tastes Like Syllabub

15 Jul

Sign with crossed picture of durian fruit and text No Durians Allowed, Penang, Malaysia[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]Ahhh… The sweet scent of durian. Known across South-East Asia as “the king of fruits”. Celebrated at festivals across Malaysia and Indonesia. Freighted cross-continents by fans of the delicacy.

Yet routinely barred from public places, as this sign at a Penang hotel shows.

There are reasons, of course, for this lethal weapon’s unpopularity. It’s not just the aesthetics. Savagely spiked, with a cannonball heft, the durian won’t be winning any beauty contests any time soon.

It is, to be honest, the smell.

Like drains. Bad drains. As pungent as some of the finest French cheeses or ripest fish sauces. The kind of smell that might just work for, well, a cheese, but doesn’t quite cut it for a fruit.

Now, junior is no slouch when it comes to food. He’s eaten crickets, fish sauces, sashimi, Stinking Bishop cheese, oysters…

But durian? No way, Jose.

Z holding small durian with expression of horror. Teluk Bayang, Malaysia.

Horrified child with the smallest durian we could find.

Open up the hefty exterior and the interior isn’t that appealing, either. The sturdy segments reveal a curdy white pulp surrounding large, chestnut-brown seeds.

opened durian fruit revealing the flesh.

Perhaps slightly more appealing when opened up.

Yet it tastes, to be honest, like no other fruit on earth. The pulp has a creamy rich sweetness that’s similar to syllabub, with a slight lemon sherbet tinge to it. It makes an absolutely decadent filling for chocolate and a phenomenally popular icecream.

Connoisseurs around the world will pay through the, erm, nose for the best durians, fresh-freighted, straight off the tree. And I guess, for them at least, the smell is part of the appeal.

Thanks to Beth at Wanderlust and Lipstick for hosting <a href=""Wanderfood Wednesdays.

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11 Responses to “Smells Like Drains, Tastes Like Syllabub”

  1. jessiev July 15, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    love this – esp the look on Z’s face!

  2. Snap July 16, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    I’ve yet to try it, especially after reading that it tastes like a combination of onions and cat pee….how someone likened it to the latter, is a bit of a worry.

    I will definitely give a go!

    • MummyT July 16, 2010 at 11:59 am #

      Just don’t take any home with you…

  3. Kaston July 16, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    I liked to too when I was in Thailand. Though the smell kept me from being enthusiastic about it. It was just too much :p. How did you get that publicizing bar at the bottom of your post? I’ve always wanted one of those!

  4. marketingtomilk July 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Reading and learning at the same time. Thank you MummyT!

  5. Nick July 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    you’re in penang? any plans to come to singapore?

    • MummyT July 16, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

      We’re off to Borneo next (Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah), then probably a long stint in Indonesia, so I’m not now sure if we’re going to make it to Singapore.

  6. Nick July 17, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    cool i look forward to reading your borneo entries!

  7. Wanderluster July 21, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    There’s something to be said about a fruit that hotels won’t even let you bring into the room!

    • MummyT July 21, 2010 at 8:56 am #

      Apparently, if they have aircon, once it’s in the system, it spreads through the entire hotel…

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