02/19/13 12:41pm

Do You Dig Durian?

Freeze-dried durian is pretty benign.

Freeze-dried durian is pretty benign.

One of the questions I ask Flushing food tour groups—besides is it too early in the morning for tripe—is, “How do you feel about durian?” Canvassing opinions about the spiky king of fruit, which Anthony Bourdain once described as smelling “…like you’d buried somebody holding a big wheel of Stilton in his arms, then dug him up a few weeks later,” is as good a gauge of adventurousness as any.

On one tour a guy told me about how an over-ripe durian landed on his head while he was taking a nap under a tree in Southeast Asia. He was supposed to go to a wedding later that day, but was forbidden to attend because he was “unlucky,” and, no doubt, stinky.

Most truly odiferous durian varieties never make it to the United States. Usually I’ll buy my tour group a bag of freeze-dried durian at a Malaysian market. As durian goes it’s pretty benign. It’s crunchy and sweet, though it does have a somewhat funky after taste. Last Sunday though I purchased some dumplings at Golden Shopping Mall called “ice durian.” Each tiny purse was filled with a mixture of cool custard topped by some really pungent durian. I rather liked it, so much so that I’m thinking of eating some today. My tour group did not feel the same way. Here’s what I’d like to know: Do you dig durian?  Tell me in the comments or hit me on the Twitter, @JoeDiStefano.

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4 Comment

  • more pressing question: wtf do you do with a bag of durian paste just “gifted” to you? Flow in “fresh” from Thailand? I was told “just eat it with a spoon”, but… uhm.. no freakin’ thanks. Durian ice cream is popular, so is durian pastry, but… I kinda just want to smear it on the perimeter of the house to ward off the stray dogs that crap on my lawn.

  • Yo Joe

    Durian : Lovin it. The best I’ve had was one from Malaysia whilst in Hong Kong

    Marmite: I like it, thin spread on toast with butter. What I am not crazy about are these Marmite derived crisps they have in England, called “Twiglets”. Taste like a charred pencil eraser. But you like the weird stuff, look em up! Never saw any in the USA


  • I’ve always been disappointed by fresh durian I’ve had. After the smell, which I can abide, the actual fruit isn’t exciting. I’ve felt that way about durian ice cream and durian moon cakes, too.