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Jan 20, 2007 02:04 AM

My first durian

Hi folks,

I was in Manhattan Chinatown this evening and saw a fruit vendor cutting open durians and neatly scooping out the flesh into take out boxes for customers. After reading so much about durians on this board, I decided to purchase one. As many posters have written, the flesh was a combination of creamy custard surrounded by thin layers of firmer flesh. The combination of smooth and gentle crunch was enticing. The custardy part was the texture of strained yogurt and very rich. The flavor was sweet like a vanilla pudding, but with a surprisingly strong touch of roasted garlic! Since many posters have also said that it's hard to have a good durian experience outside of Asia, I was wondering if my experience was close to the real thing. How would you describe the flavor of durian? Do you prefer to eat it cold or at room temperature?

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  1. Im very interested in trying Durian.I always smell them at the asian stores when I walk by and wondered how they'd taste.Sound good.

    1. Yes, ...but do you have a sense of smell?

      3 Replies
        1. re: billjriv

          I meant chowmeow, who describes the experience with no referencce whatsoever to smell. I mean I liked the taste and texture but not the smell when I lived in Asia.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Hi Sam,
            Yes, there definitely was a strong odor. To me, it smelt mainly like gasoline, which I do not like at all. I didn't get the rancid smell that many complain about. I chose not to describe the smell in my OP because I had already found so many posts about the foul odor.

      1. Welcome to the durian club.

        Yes, your experience is pretty close to the real thing. You do get better durians in SE Asia, but you can also have pretty good durians here as well.

        I don't smell the garlic when I taste it - perhaps roasted meat would be closer (pork?). Sweet, savory, savory, savory. I think the sheer bizarreness of tasting anything other than conventional fruit throws people off.

        Wikipedia is also good at perpetuating groundless or unfair myths.

        You can serve it at room temperature or cold.

        2 Replies
        1. re: grocerytrekker

          The colder the better for beginners (I like it half frozen, it takes on a crunchy ice cream texture) but as it grows on you you'll enjoy the smooth texture of it at room temperature.

          1. re: grocerytrekker

            Ah! I tasted my first "garlicky" mealy durian yesterday.

            Now I see what you mean by garlicky. When you can actually taste garlic though, it tends to be a mealy durian, perhaps repeatedly frozen. The flesh should be firm, the thin membrane entirely intact (although creamy inside). Not white and mushy. Really good ones are VERY sweet and tends to overpower off-flavors, if any.

            What I had yesterday happened to be a mild Thai durian, which is nice when fresh, but perhaps should not be frozen.

          2. Sounds like you had a very positive durian experience.

            To me, durian is best appreciated at full pungency (ie room temperature) and when the surrounding skin is punctured by the teeth to reveal the custard-y flesh. However, frozen durian is akin to eating a custard-y ice cream, which is also very delicious. I prefer the ones that are just slightly bitter (to offset the sweetness). I agree that there is a garlic and onion aftertaste that lingers long after you have partaken of the fruit - you will burp up durian fumes!

            BTW, a tip for getting the durian smell off your hands is to wash with water that has been run over the inside of the durian husk. Also, to avoid 'heatiness', drink salt water from the husk.

            1. Thanks for your responses - I'm glad that I had a good first time experience with the durian. It sounds delicious frozen so I'd like to do that with some of my left overs. I definitely want to try them in Asia some time!