Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Forbidden fruit

It's not about the apple from the Garden of Eden!
It's about the exotic fruit which is been forbidden from many places, hotels, office buildings, public transportation, many countries in South East Asia!

It's about durian or Sầu Riêng in Vietnamese!

                                                                                                                         dressed up for a dinner! 

Durian would be the only fruit that keep people arguing, fighting with each other either to "destroy"or to place this fruit on a throne!

But the road to the glory seems difficult, despite the huge popularity that the durian gain over hundred years!

                                                                                                                Durian in Mekong Delta market

I'm curious to learn how people think about durian! And to my big surprise, I found so many cruel comments but at the same time a flood of love and emotion from fans who crave this forbidden fruit!
Ok, let's see what people say!

"According to those who eat it, it has a rich custard like texture, and is often called by the people who love the fruit, it is the fruit of heaven. For others it is the fruit of hell!" 
"Its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away."

"The taste is exactly the way I imagine fermented garbage custard or dead person jello would taste like. It was truly a horrifying experience!"
                                                                               Durian stall on Nguyen Tri Phuong street - day time! 

"I couldn't get my husband to try it though; he delicately described its aroma as "rotting corpse"."

 "The odor of cheese, onion, rotting flesh, roasted almonds, skunk: all of these sensory experiences, discrete and completely unlike, have been used in an attempt to describe durian." 

"Durian is one of the two or three things I can recall making Andrew Zimmern gag on Bizarre Foods. 
I feel sorry for him and anyone else who can't stand the smell of durian"

"Oh, and what does it taste like? To me, it was like a cross between mango and brieSweet, but creamy and warm at the same time."
"I describe it as eating a delicious nutty egg custard while sitting in a flooded old onion field."

"... for those curious, i'd describe the taste as a marriage between banana, butterscotch, and onion!" 

                                                                                                                                           and night time! 

And time for love!  

"I can eat durian for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I am confident that I can do so until an old age, without developing diabetes or hepatitis. Actually, I even believe that the durian has a magical power to keep me young and look young, without facelifts or other cosmetic or plastic surgery". For more love you can check here!

But how about me? 

I can't remember when I tried durian for my first time! It would be long ago, when I was just a teenager! 
But this's my mother's all-time favorite fruit, she used to have a cup of black coffee mixed with a pinch of durian! 

And I remember a story with our good neighbor. 

Our neighbor from Huế (Central Vietnam), she was a good cook (sadly she passed away 15-16 years ago!), From time to time she prepared some braised fish in Huế style for our family. It was always in very appealing red color of spicy chili, but very good! 

One day my mother bought for our neighbor a durian, asked her to come over and taste it. 
She tried to refuse but at the end she agreed, just because my mother was her children's teacher! 
She tried not to smell by using fingers to squeeze her nose, and little by little she tried a tiny piece of durian. Her face seemed tensed up. 

The first bite, then second bite. Her first nerves soon disappeared after the third one. 
But still squeezing nose, she continued eating the first durian in her entire life!
Our neighbor fell in love with durian since that day, but squeezing a nose became her habit whenever she had durian!    

From March, April till Jun are durian harvest season. Durian everywhere, but the prices never drop to cheap levels, as we do for pineapples or bananas. This fruit always proudly remains on the top! 

                                                                         reliable durian street stall "Ông mắt kính"

To select a good durian is not easy, we always relay on the vendors, but the good thing you can try one, 
if you don't like they open another! 
However the vendor never let you go further, he stop you at the second, third one! Depends on what you like, they may suggest a hard or wet durian flesh. 

Ông mắt kính (i.e man in glasses) is a durian stall on Nguyen Tri Phuong street, between Nguyen Trai and An Duong Vuong street, I heard from my Singaporean durian-lover friend, this owner-vendor is a trusted man, always select the best durian for customers!  

                                                     Ông mắt kính - man in glasses behind his new durian spring roll cart! 

Before we used to see huge Thai durians with big durian sections but the taste, flavor are bland! 
Our durian used to be with big seeds, less flesh, we paid mostly for the scary, thick, heavy outer case and big seeds.  
But nowadays we have developed different durian species: much smaller seeds, strong flavor, better taste!    

Durian flavor
The inspiration for many chefs. Durian jelly, ice cream, smoothie, all kinds of cake...even spring roll!  

Durian spring roll is surely an innovation-dish, to me it's just ok! 
I would prefer if the roll is filled with fresh durian flesh rather than durian paste! Quite popular these days, esp. in chinatown! 

                                                                                          Deep fried spring roll filled with durian paste! 

Forbidden is always an irresistible, appealing thing! 

So why don't you find an inspiration for yourself to enter to the Garden of Eden and to try this forbidden fruit? 

Important note!
Please don't eat durian with coriander and red wine! Just a moment of my "inspiration" during the photo session! 

1 comment:

  1. one thing is for durian. lots of westerner eat cheese and some are mild some are strong that some hate. most vietnamese don't eat cheese, so this is a strong food. also nuoc mam is strong flavor also western don't like first time.

    very nice photo la.


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