How to learn to love the smell of Durian.
Durian may look like a medieval weapon but it’s the smell that will knock you to the floor. At least it did me. The first time I encountered its unique smell was in a market in Bangkok.
“What is that smell? It’s like someone just vomited up a bunch of fruit.”
As we turned a corner Al exclaimed, “It’s durian. Mmmm.”
It turned out that the Vietnamese guys that Al worked with regularly brought durian in for lunch, and Al had been induced into trying it. Apparently once you have tasted this creature you will love it. And the stench that goes along with it!
I’ve never gotten past the smell so I can’t comment, but I did have jackfruit, which they tell me is a lot like durian but without the smell. And it’s sweet and fruity and slightly creamy. So maybe I will try durian some day!
Durian looks like a spiked mace. It can easily grow to the size of a watermelon, and occasionally drops on people’s heads with rather disastrous effects.
Jackfruit can also get as big as a watermelon, and it grows oddly out of the tree trunk.
Durian for sale in a market in Bangkok.
Jackfruit for sale at a market in the Mekong Delta.Jackfruit (left) & durian (right) for sale in a Hanoi market, showing off their sweet fruity innards.
Jackfruit and papaya at a street stall in Saigon.I’ve been told that sweet and fruity jackfruit has a similar flavour to durian, but without the additional stench that has caused durians to be banned in many places.
Coconut ice cream garnished with a strip of jackfruit, an inspiration from the Salathai menu here in Vancouver.
More about the tropical fruits I discovered in Southeast Asia: