Monday, January 7, 2008

Dried Durian - A Disappointment

Ever since we read about the durian and how dreadful it smells and tastes, dd has been wanting to try one. "Durian is a fruit which is well liked in Southeast Asian countries, but westerners usually do not want to try it because it has a pungent smell that is difficult to describe. Some people compare the penetrating odor of durian to cheeses like limburger. Airlines and hotels in Southeast Asia do not allow clientele to enter them with durian in their possession."

We found a whole one in the frozen food department of the world food store - found out they do not have them fresh in this country. Hmmmm - I wonder why?

I didn't even check the price of the whole frozen one - because I'm not ready to cut into one just yet. But, on our last trip to the store I came across a package of dried durian. I figured it would be pretty close to the taste of the fresh and we could at least find out how it tasted without having a whole one lingering in the trash can. I'm scared of how bad it might smell and that our whole house will be under the durian smell for the whole day, after it's been cracked open and the scent unleashed.

We were all apprehensive about trying the dried durian - I suggested we open the package out in the garage "just in case". Inside the sealed plastic package there was a silver foil lined pouch that was sealed. I was thinking this durian must smell REAL BAD if they are double bagging it.

I was chicken. I gave the durian to the kids first to judge whether I'd take a big, or a little bite of mine. It's said to taste like "eating custard in a sewer" or "overripe cheese, rotting fish", so I thought I was justifiably apprehensive.

Inside the package were large dried chunks of durian. They were kind of hard to crunch and didn't have an overpowering taste at all. Disappointingly, there was almost no odor at all.

The taste was mild - not very sweet, a bit nutty, left an aftertaste in my mouth similar to green onions. It also reminded me slightly of a mango.

The girl thought it was strange and not very fruity, she only took a small bite. "I'd still like to taste the REAL durian." she added. The boy said "it tastes kind of like salad". He then said he needed something to get rid of the durian flavor in his mouth. He got out a spoon and the jar of caviar and ate some of that.

Surely the fresh durian has a more powerful taste than the dried version - makes me think I'm not off the hook with the durian yet.

In case you come upon a durian, here is a "how to" on choosing a good one.

This is one thing I've come to realize with all this taste testing - if it's dried fruit or vegetable or a beverage, the girl will automatically not like it. And this has pretty much been her attitude forever, even with "normal" foods, so it should not be a surprise to me.

If it's a variety of potato or cheese - the boy isn't going to like it regardless of how wonderful it tastes, b/c he's never liked regular potatoes or basic cheese (other than melted on his pizza or finely shredded in his taco).