the underbelly

It’s fruit…but it tastes like custardy trash!
August 24, 2009, 11:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Yup. In honor of a good friend of mine leaving New York forever (boo!) to go to school in DC, we all went out to a lovely dim sum meal and then ended it by sharing the unforgettable and slightly rancid experience of eating durian. It’s big. It’s spiky. It’s illegal to eat on the Hong Kong subways. But, hey, anything goes on the streets of New York’s Chinatown (specifically on the corner of Bowery and Grand). So we took the plunge. 

You have to buy an entire durian when you eat it. The man at the stall chops it up for you – which is more like extracting yellowy egg sacks from the spiky pod. Yum. 


If you can’t read the sign it advertises durian as being the “King of the Fruits.” If that’s the truth then “the fruits” have a very, very stinky king. When the guy first started extracted the gooey fruit I couldn’t smell anything unpleasant. But it was a hot, humid day so it didn’t take too long for me to understand exactly why it’s illegal to eat durian in public places in China. It smells not entirely unlike rancid trash with a hint of cheese. It’s tangy and kind of stings the nose. 


There it is. We dug in, tentatively at first. And then more voraciously if you weren’t me. I am sad to say that I do not like durian. I wanted to so badly. And I’m not saying I won’t give it another chance – possibly when frozen because that mellows it out a bit. But in the moment I couldn’t stomach the fruit. It was creamy and at first taste nutty and cheesy but then it finished with a rancid tang. I couldn’t get over that. But one of us loved it and ended up taking the leftovers home with her. I had the pleasure of riding the train with her and the leftovers. It’s not a ride neither I nor the other patrons of the uptown B train we were in will forget any time soon. It is, to put it mildly, pungent.


2 Comments so far
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durian popsicles! put it on the list– you’ll love them. just like regular popsicles with a hint of smell…

Comment by genny

If you want to eat durian come visit me! We grow it at home (the farm) and its so nasty (at least most people think so) that hotels and other public places (which cater to foreigners) announcing it is banned on premise. Seriously.

Comment by Sandra

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