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.
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.