Many hotels, airlines won’t allow this fruit’s presence

durian photo: durian durian.jpgThe odor that durian (“turen” in Cambodia) is intense, inescapable.  You can smell the fruit down the street from anywhere it is being sold.

Most folks find it offensive, even nauseating.  Until recently, I was one of those individuals.

However, hearing so many Cambodians rhapsodize over its quality as the local turen season approached its peak a couple of weeks ago, I resolved to appreciate its appeal.
Now I do.

My first attempt at tasting the thing was a challenge that I’d rather not recall.  My second try failed to enamor me of its qualities.  By my third taste, I was growing fond of the pillowy insides of a notably unwelcoming exterior.

We now have two Styrofoam containers of the yellow stuff in our refrigerator.  Opening the door reveals its pungent presence, even though each container is wrapped in two plastic bags.

Mangosteen

Although durian may be the singularly most odoriferous food in the world — perhaps any of us could come up with close contenders such as Japanese natto or Limburger cheese from Belgium —  I don’t any more notice the odor when savoring its sweetness.  Really, I don’t smell the unctuous fruit at all while eating it.

I love the taste, which defies my ability to describe, but I confess to finding unpleasant turen’s repeated reminders of my consumption of it for hours afterward and the extent that it fills me up.

Still, I rue the day soon approaching when the season ends.  With the mango season now over — I ate two a day for months — and turen on the way out, I take comfort in knowing that the mangosteen season now is at its height.

The superlative mangosteen also has a flavor worth celebrating.  And it doesn’t smell at all.

E-mail: malcolmncarter@gmail.com

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9 thoughts on “Many hotels, airlines won’t allow this fruit’s presence

  1. Malcolm, speaking as the Malaysian refugee, I was very grateful for the durian you gave me, because it was far better than the stuff they sell in the markets here that’s very unripe and has no smell whatever. I must, however, agree with the Simple Guy — from Cambodia to Zanzibar, I’ve not yet found the durian that can compete with Malaysia’s. And yes, the fruit from Balik Pulau on Penang is just out of this world! I also second his comment about frozen durian. Yummm!

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  2. glad to hear you are slowly enjoying the durians.You should make a trip to Malaysia (specifically to Penang) and try them especially in Jul and Dec when it is in abundance. The taste is also different as they have been champion cross breed durians and some can even cost up to RM40/kg or more. Getting over the 1st taste is always the hardest but after a few times… it is always called love (or hate) relationship. =)

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