Our First Durian

After a rather trying morning, we made a trip to Aurora to visit H Mart, a sprawling market filled with all kinds of interesting, international foodstuffs.   Since today was my birthday, Harrison remained quiet while I piled the cart with lots of (to us) exotic produce.  As I was doing a little dance of joy in front of a huge display of giant, fresh oyster mushrooms, Harrison came around the corner and said “Durian!”  There, tucked away at the edge of the store, were two large bins full of the huge, spiky fruits.

Durian is most widely known in the U.S. as being a stinky fruit, with an odor variously described as rotton onions, turpentine, or gym socks.  They are solely imports here, either fresh or frozen, and while I have tried durian jam I have never had the opportunity to try the raw fruit.  The fruit has a wickedly thick and pointy shell, so to cut this open Harrison grabbed his (very dirty) work gloves and a sharp knife.  I recommend using cleaner gloves…

It took a fair amount of sawing to expose the lobes (called arils, just as with pomegranates).

At this point we dug in, scooping out the flesh and seeds and eating it straight out of the shell with our fingers.  The texture is custard-like, with the slightly fiberous outer lobe edges like a well-cooked artichoke.  Not overpoweringly sweet, the flavor is similar to banana but richer.  The smell?  It did have a whiff of gym sock, but either due to the variety or the fact that this was a frozen, thawed fruit, it really wasn’t too pungent.

I found myself thinking of seafood as we ate, both because of the texture of the lobes and the shape and general biology of the fruit.  It was like a shellfish carapace.

We also cracked open a few rambutans (those little Tribble-looking things in the bowl).  They are quite similar to lychee in flavor in texture, though less floral and a bit more citrusy.

Durian is really nutritious, with much higher levels of protein, fiber, and fat than most fruits.  We enjoyed it, and I think it would make excellent ice cream.  If you get a chance to try one, do not be afraid…

Thanks for reading,

-Angela

10 Responses to Our First Durian

  1. Merry Graham August 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    So brave…so very very brave!!! Thanks!!!

  2. Katie August 31, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    Good for you! That's the craziest fruit I've ever seen!

  3. Now Serving August 31, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    cool! The only thing I know about this is I've harvested them on the Farmville game, which I've given up about a month ago!!! :) And laudable choice between cake and fruit!

  4. Karen Harris August 31, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    You have the heart of a lioness.

  5. Angela FRS August 31, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    I swear, it was good!!

  6. lucy@acookandherbooks August 31, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Happy birthday! I'll look for your Durian ice cream post next.

  7. Shawn August 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Happy Birthday!

    That was pretty adventurous…I'm completely impressed :)

  8. Bo September 1, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    I have tried durian…It's not something I like…but it's not as bad as I thought it would be…I have also had some durian cookies…which I thought tasted like rotten garlic…Hope you had a great birthday.

  9. Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet September 1, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Very very brave. Think I'll stick with the Elvis burgers… :)

  10. Angela FRS September 1, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    Durian cookies sound interesting. An Elvis burger with durian sounds even more interesting…

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