- Published on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 20:22
- Written by Erica
When I first arrived in Cambodia I had no idea what a durian was. People kept mentioning it, it’s smell and it’s taste. And still I did not know. Wikipedia tells me the durian “is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the family Malvaceae (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae)”.
For the sake of this blog I will try a durian. I live by a small Khmer market and have just returned with one large green spikey fruit. After a bit of hand gesturing and broken Khmer I managed to purchase one durian fruit. It cost me 10,000 Riel or $2.50. I’m not sure if I got the barang or the traditional price. The aroma of the durian is present but it is not unpleasant, yet. I attacked the thorn-covered rind with a pretty sharp knife and it was surprisingly easy to slice. The smell is definitely stronger once cut, but I wouldn’t liken it to dirty sweaty gym socks like some others do. It does have a distinct – almost nutty – smell, but maybe my durian isn’t ripe yet? The inside is thick and a whitish colour, and I’m not quite sure what I should be eating. I take a chuck out with my knife and put my tongue to it, not much to taste. I put the chunk in my mouth and chew, it’s not a revolting taste as I expected, but it’s not a necessarily good taste either. It’s sort of like a bad cantaloupe. As I keep chewing the taste gets slightly worse, a little bit like old garlic. So rotten melon with garlic would be my opinion of a durian’s flavor.
In Cambodia, and Southeast Asia, the durian is known as the king of fruits, and is generally well regarded. However popular it is, it is still banned from public transportation and hotels due to it’s adverse smell. The saying goes you either love it or hate it, however I neither love it nor hate it but definitely won’t be eating it again.