Number 65: Durian (Part 2)

2 Aug

So, we left off with a tiny old Asian man in Chinatown handing me a durian.  Fabulous. So I drove it home, plopped it on the counter (not before getting spiked 1,000 times by its prickly outsides), and stared at it long and hard.  How was I supposed to get into this thing?  This called for an instructional online video!

Basically, you start by looking for natural seams in the durian, then cutting a 10-inch slit down the seam using a long, sharp knife.  While the spiky outsides are very tough, the flesh itself was very easy to cut through.  This was, however, when the horror began.  After cutting a slit down the durian, you’re pretty much supposed to rip it open with your bare hands.  During this process, the sounds, the smells, and the sights were almost too much for me to handle.  Ripping it open was tough, and I felt like I was ripping the heart out of someone’s chest a la “Temple of Doom.”  The fibrous tissues made this horrible tearing sound, and it looked like some kind of crazy extraterrestrial pod bursting open.  Here’s Dan trying his hand at breaking this thing open:

Now is probably a good time to tell you a little something about durian.  They’re actually banned from certain areas of Singapore (and I think a couple other countries).  Why, you ask?  Because they stink.  Yes, they smell so badly that you can’t take them into many public areas, for fear that people will drop dead around you (okay, that last part was a bit of an exaggeration).  I personally didn’t think the smell was that overwhelming or horrible, but it wasn’t pleasant.  At all.  Wikipedia compares the scent to that of sewage, vomit, and skunk spray.  Anthony Bourdain has said, “Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.” I think that maybe because mine was refrigerated, the smell was toned down a bit, because it was more garbage-like than corpse-like.

Once you get inside the durian, you have to pull out the yellow flesh, which resembles wrinkled alien fetuses.  It was so disturbing I can’t even tell you.  It looks like egg, but feels like soggy memory foam.  There are huge round seeds inside that resemble chestnuts and I had to pull them out of every few chunks.

As much as I didn’t want to, I slowly put a piece to my mouth and tasted it.  It actually had a nice flavor- it was somewhat sweet, had the texture of custard, and had a slight vanilla flavor to it.  However, every other part of the experience- the scent, the appearance- messed with my head so much that I couldn’t enjoy it.  Dan tried a piece and immediately puked.  No joke.

I decided to see if it was more tolerable in smoothie form, as I had found an easy durian smoothie recipe online.  It involved a banana, cacao powder, nutmeg, and water.  It sounded good, so I gave it a shot.

I threw in the ingredients, including a full cup of durian.

The result?  Another head game, really.  Y’know in Fear Factor or any other gross-out show, where they put a ton of meat in a blender and make contestants drink a huge glass of rancid, pureed meat pieces?  That’s what this looked like, and it freaked me out big time.  The texture was that of chocolate mousse, and it tasted pretty good, but there was just something about it that I couldn’t handle.  There was no ice involved in the recipe, and drinking thick, lukewarm brown liquid was far too Two Girls One Cup for me to continue drinking.

If you can get past the horrible scent, the disturbing texture, and the frightening appearance of durian, there’s actually some good flavor in store for ya!  But, if you’re like me and you can’t ignore these things, you’re doomed.   My good pal Mr. Onion told me, though, that the Food Network’s Andrew Zimmern couldn’t even stomach a single piece of this stuff, so that pretty much makes me the most daring person alive.  Just sayin’.

5 Responses to “Number 65: Durian (Part 2)”

  1. c.c. August 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    so it’s a fruit?

    i gotta tell ya, that thing looks nasty. i’m having a hard time just handling the photos.

  2. IntenseGuy August 3, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    This is why I’m so glad that there are so many different foods to chose from to eat… This way I can “pass” on the durian… LOL – I looked it up yesterday and what I read said it stunk like old sneakers and that the seeds were toxic. I’ll stick to bananas!

  3. Big Onion August 3, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Not only did you eat it, you put it in a blender and drank it!

    You rock. I bow down to your amazingness. (If that’s a word.)

  4. Laura in Cancun August 3, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    I was enjoying your article, then you said “two girls one cup” and I forgot everything. I’d vomit, but that would just remind me of it even more. 😛


  1. Oh. Em. Gee. (It’s Over.) | OMNIVORE100PROJECT - April 15, 2012

    […] little squirmy body didn’t make it any easier.  God bless you, Randy. #1 Gross-Out Moment Number 65 – Durian It’s safe to say that tearing a durian apart with my bare hands was the second most […]

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