I've eaten durian a few times. Weighing as much as ten pounds, the hard greenish shell of this Southeast Asian fruit is studded with hard spikes, like some kind of living medieval weapon. Growing at the tops of trees up to 40 feet tall, durian fruits have been known to drop from branches and kill people below.
It takes a mighty thwack of a machete to persuade a durian to yield its cache of grayish-yellow sluglike pods. With an odor somewhere between sweetened garlic and pig manure, the fruit's stench is so overpowering that it can be smelled through a car's closed trunk.
To me, durian tastes like rotten bananas mixed with garlic and a drop of gasoline. And the aftertaste remains on your tongue for at least 24 hours, even after you brush your tongue with toothpaste. Despite — or more likely, because — durian is so foul, it's considered a delicacy by millions of people. People love it or hate it, there is no in-between. Those who adore it as "The King of Fruit" in its native Indonesia, Malaysia, and especially Thailand (which dominates its export market) are willing to fork over what amounts to a month's salary for a prime specimen. In Singapore alone, $30 million worth of the fetid fruit slithers down gullets of fearless gourmands each year. The governments of several Asian countries forbid people from bringing durian onto any type of public transportation. Most hotels have a ban on the fruit, and rental car agencies issue fines for cars that are returned smelling of durian.
Many visitors to Malaysia and Thailand are tempted to try durian. Here are some reports published on the Internet:
- "I nearly vomited from the smell alone. I would describe it as a cross between dirty diapers and propane."
- "It's like eating ice cream in a sewer."
- "It really does smell like decaying flesh combined with rotting eggs."
- "It was similar to eating a cheesecake covered with a layer of feces"
- "That is the single most disgusting thing I've ever experienced in my life; get it out of my face."
In the video above, Crazy Russian Hacker tries durian for the first time. His experience was similar to mine. At first, it tastes pretty good, but every subsequent bite gets worse, until you feel sick.
Portions if the text above are from my book, The World's Worst.