Durian, the popular fruit of Southeast Asia, is completely polarizing. You either love it, or you hate it. My Asian friends and family use it as a litmus test to see how Asian I am.
Can I cut it properly?
Can I eat it?
Nope. I am not Asian at all. I will never accept durian.
The giant spiky fruit resembles a medieval weapon. If that doesn’t deter you, then its fragrance of sewage and rotting flesh will. There are many famous quotes of people describing its unappealing smell and taste. Here are a few of my favorites:
“Like eating raspberry blancmange in the lavatory.” —Anthony Burgess
“Like pungent, runny French cheese … Your breath will smell as if you’d been French kissing your dead grandmother.” —Anthony Bourdain
“Vomit-flavoured custard.” —The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei
“To eat it seems to be the sacrifice of self-respect.” —Bayard Taylor
Creative descriptions by durian-haters abound on the internet, however there are few enraptured descriptions from durian-lovers. They claim they love it, but they say bland things like:
It’s great. Something like cheesecake.
There are those that have learned how to accept the offensive odors, and now relish durian with gusto. My durian-lover friends are waiting for me to convert, but if I want to eat cheesecake, I’m gonna go eat some cheesecake. I’m not going to hack through a spiky pod to dig out something that looks like blanched liver.
Which brings me to my conclusion. The ONLY reason why people eat this fruit is for
- If you hate it, you now get to tell the world how awful it is. The Asian in you isn’t shining through, but your survived it and lived the tell the tale.
- If you love it, you now get to brag about your pod-hacking knowledge and highly evolved (or non-functioning) olfactory system. You’re also seen as some kind of holder of super-Asian genes.
- If you’ve been converted, you get to tell everyone still holding their noses that you have the ability to appreciate your gourmet heritage. You. Are. Asian.