Durian. Perhaps the most infamous of the tropical fruits. And the most polarizing – I’ve never met anyone who expressed only a casual like or dislike of durian. Due to its strong smell, it has been banned from hotels in Malaysia and airplanes in Thailand.
I don’t think I’ve ever even heard two people describe its flavor in the same way. I’ve heard comparisons to gym socks, stinky cheese, and rotting flesh. Lonely Planet calls it “an acridly pungent delicacy.” People either describe the texture as creamy or mushy. My co-workers have told me that the taste is certainly an acquired one – none of them enjoyed it as children living in Burma, but since they’ve moved to Thailand they have learned to count it among their favorite foods.
After seeing (and smelling) durian in the markets over several stays in SE Asia, I decided it was finally time to try it. My Dad, Jessica, and Shawn had a similar curiosity about it, so they picked up a small sample in the morning market today. Perhaps you can tell from the expressions on their faces how everyone felt about it:
As for me, I liked the soft, creamy texture but the taste didn’t do it for me. It’s hard to describe, but the closest comparison for me is very strong raw garlic.