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My First Durian

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After years of curiousityI Finally tried a durian. The was a Chinese grocery next to the Thai Restaurant I went to in Madison Heights MI, and I picked one up more less on a whim. After trying to imagine to smell and taste for years, I now know. The description of a onion like custard was more or less correct. It's smell was strong, but I've smelled worse.

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  1. I liked my first bite but then after a few more I almost threw up... then I had a few more bites. I dont think its my thing but Id try it again. I think that some peoples negative reaction to it is exaggerated.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpaxonite

      I didn't think I'd ever hear someone describe a tasting sequence of this sort! "Tried some, liked it at first, then felt like throwing up, then had some more. Meh."

    2. Durian can be a hit and miss purchase for me. Sometime, they are ripe, and they have that custard/butter texture, but sometime they are not ripe, and they taste horrible to me.

      1. Soft sweet rotten onions.

        1. The one we tried must have been bad. It didn't stink and it didn't taste like anything.

          ????

          8 Replies
          1. re: sandylc

            Had it been frozen? Are you sure it wasn't jackfruit?

            1. re: kpaxonite

              Yeah, it was frozen.

            2. re: sandylc

              A ripe durian has a sweet, delicious flavour - but it must be ripened on a tree. The ones exported to the West are plucked and then frozen, certainly not representative of what the fruit should taste like.

               
              1. re: klyeoh

                The first time I tried durian, it was in Bugis, Singapore. No matter what else I ate the rest of the day, the taste of the dang thing kept giving me the stereotypical in-law treatment.

                I've since tried it in two other forms - and that's THAT. However, klyeoh, are you aware of the durian specialty store at T3 at Changi Airport? It's between check-in and the airport monorails.

                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                  Yes, Durian MPire by 717. It vacuum-packs durians for the air travellers to bring home. *Much* better quality than anything you'd be able to find back home if you're from the US or Europe.

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    The durian stalls in Indonesia like to advertise "monthong." It sounds Thai...anyone know about it?

                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                      "Monthong" is definitely a Thai breed, albeit the most expensive one. "Karnyao" and "Charnee" are two other very popular breeds in Thailand.

                      But the durians I've had in Indonesia are generally of very poor quality (in terms of taste, aroma, texture) and do not even approach the quality of Thai durians. Even durians I had in Vietnam were a class above those from Indonesia. Maybe "monthong" is used in Indonesia as a marketing gimmick.

                      Pic of my Trinidadian colleague marvelling at his first sight of durians - these ones are from a roadside stall in Surabaya, East Java.

                       
                  2. re: BuildingMyBento

                    Bugis! Where you can smell the durian stand from a block or two away. :)

              2. The quality you get here in the USA with the frozen ones is really spotty, sometimes underripe thus not very flavorful. Even the frozen ones be just incredible... beyond words. If you thought it was only so-so (as opposed to awful; some people really do hate it), based on my experiences you'll love it if you get a riper one.

                They don't always have those oniony/garlicky savory notes, but I really like that aspect if there's other flavors; it tends to come on at the end, after the other sweeter (typically vanilla, often melon, sometimes other) flavors and provide contrast.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Blackcap

                  that's the flavor I get from them. Very overripe cantaloupe with a hint of almonds.

                2. I've had the defrosted imported durian---remnant of peppery, pungent rotten onions and licking armpits at the end of a humid 100 degree day. But I like durian ice cream and bubble tea. So I think I would have to try a prestigious variety in peak season in South East Asia before I say 'never again' to the real thing.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    Do come to SE-Asia and try the "real" thing. Comparing a defrosted durian to a tree-ripened one can be likened to having a defrosted piece of fish vis-a-vis fresh sashimi. Be aware though, that durians are seasonal.

                    The best durians, IMO, are Malaysian ones - and they come from different states, and appear at different times of the year. Singapore imports the bulk of our durians from Malaysia - Penang ones around July-August. Johore ones around early June till July. Pahang ones in Nov/Dec. Malaysian durians smell much stronger than the Thai breeds, and are eaten very ripe. In Malaysia, durians are not plucked from the trees - plantation workers wait for ripe durians to fall.

                    The Thais are different - they like their durians semi-ripe, and with a slight crunch to the flesh. Thai durians are the ones exported to the West.

                    Photos from my neighborhood durian pop-up stall which appears towards end of last year as durians in Malaysia's Pahang & Selangor states are in season. You can see the various Malaysian breeds on offer - my fave ones are Musang King (very thick, creamy flesh with a depth of flavour unlike any other breeds of durian) and Udang Merah (sweet, bitterish undertones).