For those who grew up in southeast Asia, the “fragrant” of a riped durian is irresistible from several blocks away; several inches away is a different matter.
Even in the open markets in SE Asia, durian fruits aren’t cheap because the trees take a long time to mature, the fruits are available only at limited time of the year, and the flowers can only be pollinated by fruit bats. In the US, buying frozen is expensive and buying fresh could cost a week worth of groceries. So I usually buy a medium-sized frozen durian in San Diego and share with everyone who appreciate the taste. Last week was a blur and we didn’t have a chance to eat it San Diego, so I ended up with a ripe durian in the car for a four-hour drive back to Los Angeles.
Most people have a love/hate relationship with the durian. They belong to either the Andrew Zimmern camp or the Anthony Bourdain camp, nothing in between. The choices are slime or ambrosia. I’m a fan of Bourdain and love durian because nothing beats the intense flavor of this fruit. The fragrant is heavy, the taste is sweet, the texture is sticky, smooth and creamy.
It’s difficult to describe the intensity of the flavor and how it hits your senses. Last year I was touring a natural gas storage field where the odor of natural gas was added. The crew showed us a slender cylinder of about two feet tall and the little bit inside the cylinder was enough to odorize the entire storage field. That’s how the flavor of the durian is packed that’s why many believe it is the king of the fruits.