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Feb 10, 2009 08:58 AM

I bought a durian!

Yes I did! Yes I did! I grabbed it from the discount shelf, yes I did!

Can you tell I'm excited?

Wow, is it stinky! I have a durian, yay yay yay!

<bzzt> We now return you to your regularly scheduled program. <bzzt>

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  1. You didn't!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're braver than we are. My husband says they're not even allowed on public transpo in Singapore! Whenever we walk past a vendor, I'm always mesmerized but not so much that I'd actually BUY one. But now, are you going to eat it????? You MUST report back. Eeeeeekkkkkkk.

    9 Replies
      1. re: Samalicious

        Yes, seriously. I watched Andrew Zimmern almost gag on one and, when you consider what he pops in his mouth, that tells ME something.

      2. re: c oliver

        I tasted it fresh for the first time in Singapore. And yes, the 'no durian' signs were there in the subway along with no smoking, no littering, no dangerous compressed gasses.

        Am I going to eat it? I already did!

        Normally, it's like $6/pound, but this one was open so they swathed it in saran wrap, marked it down, and put it on the discount shelf. This is Berkeley Bowl for those in the SFBA. I really enjoy people watching and a durian dispute might have been quite a show, but then I would not have gotten it so into the basket it went. This was one of the smaller examples and I was still lopsided all the way to the car.

        Even from the trunk, it stank up the car quickly. I can't really say stink, it's that mushroomy pheremonal smell that truffles emit. I left it out til I was ready, as I didn't want every single thing in the fridge to stink of durian. The whole house especially the kitchen got that truffle smell. It was partly open, so prying the husk apart was fairly easy. I might use kitchen mitts if there's a next time, the husk takes some leverage and the sharp spikes are no joke. I ate one segment with coconut rice. To me, there's a distinct onion component to the aroma of the actual flesh. Comparisons that came to mind were onion soup mix, chives gone off, or sprouted onions gone off. The flesh was sweet and very pale. The rest of it is in the fridge in well sealed tupperware. The seeds are quite large and are supposed to be edible but must be cooked first and I have found only vague instructions. I am hoping to solve that mystery and will report back later if I do. There are supposed to be many different durian cultivars which enjoy varying levels of culinary esteem, but I don't know which this was.

        Yes, it did quite stink, but I managed to eat it. I'd say if you can manage to feed your cat canned food without fainting, you will probably be able to deal with this. Liking it, that's another story.

        1. re: Louise

          Soak the seeds in water so that all the durian flesh is gone. Boil as you might a potato. Peel the outer skin. Eat.

          1. re: Ali

            Thank you, I will report back once I've tried them.

            1. re: Louise

              The cooked seeds tasted like really chalky potato without much flavor.

              1. re: kobetobiko

                Depends on the seeds, I think. Some most definitely taste like a chalky potato (the larger ones seems to be the trend I'm noticing), though I'd say that flavour isn't that bland (then again, I don't find yucca bland in the least, and all the judges on Chopped last night commented on how bland yucca is). The smaller ones are different - less starchy, bit of a peculiar texture that reminds me of a firmer boiled chestnut.

                1. re: Ali

                  Jackfruit seeds (seem similar in taste and texture to what you describe for durian seeds) and unripe jackfruit chunks are cooked in a masala gravy in some Indian regions.

                  Maybe durian seeds could be done the same way?

                  1. re: Ali

                    Mmmm. I love yucca. Not bland at all.

        2. It gets worse when you cut into it. Speaking of which, watch those spines.

          A word to the wise: don't consume any carbonated beverages before, during, or after you taste the stuff. Even if you enjoy the flavor, it's probably best as a one-time experience, if you know what I mean. We're talking belches that can clear a room...

          1. I've had durian a few times, but only in Asia where someone else opened it for me. I'll be very curious to hear how you end up going about that. I might like to try it myself.

            Surprised to read your comment, AB, about the residual effects. I don't recall that at all.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JoanN

              AB speaks truth. My last experience was sitting in a smallish kitchen Kuala Lumpur in '07, eating some new esteemed variety called "Red Lobster" or something like that. My bro-in-law literally drove 2-3 hours to source it just for me, the visiting guest from LA. So here we are, seven adults a two kids - our kids stayed far away - noshing away at the fleshy custardy pods. The smell was already quite heady in the humid evening air. My father-in-law, who just finished off some beer earlier with dinner, plugged one of those belches where he put the top of his fist up to his mouth, burped where his cheeks expanded and you can almost feel the air coming out of his ears simultaneously, and the afterburn - oh that smell. We cleared the kitchen - he laughed and kept eating.

            2. You brave soul! About a week ago, I was at a local asian market and was sorting through some of the produce. There was a pile of durian in the next bin, and it was all I could do not to throw up. It made me wonder: How hungry must that first person to eat a durian have been to think, "I bet this prickly, stinky thing might just be edible..."??

              2 Replies
              1. re: ricepad

                Hah! I wondered that myself. Though in Oakland Chinatown I often see them frozen so less funky.

                1. re: Louise


                  Your post describes why my experience was so much different than described.

                  We went to our fave resto for my birthday but didn't make a big deal of it to the staff. When the occasion was discovered, the chef/owner sent out a surprise...a section of durian (it had been frozen) with a birthday candle in it.

                  I was surprised and pleased by the taste of the flesh. To my palate, it was like a coconut/pineapple custard...albeit with fibers throughout.

                  Didn't tackle the seeds, but enjoyed the flesh.

              2. My husband brought durian jam back from the Philippines (4 years ago?!) but we haven't been brave enough to open the jar yet. We've said we'll take it on a picnic one of these summers.