Why can't western people eat durian?

The stinking king

Eating durian is like eating baby droppings delicious. For many, the fruit delicacy from Southeast Asia smells like old tennis socks or bad breath, hence also called cheese or stinky fruit. The taste, however, is almost shockingly contrary and really difficult to describe, like a walnut ice cream with a fine note of vanilla.

The Asians love it and devote entire festivals to the fruit. I can well remember family celebrations that were basically nothing more than durian slaughter festivals - outdoors, of course, and in the absence of German noses.

A durian can weigh a good 6 kg and can be the size of a melon. Originally from Indonesia and Malaysia. The naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace tried the durian for the first time in Borneo in the 19th century and was very impressed: “In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience… If I had to fix on two only as representing the perfection of the two classes, I should certainly choose the Durian and the Orange as the king and queen of fruits. "

As befits a king, the durian is well protected. Due to the thick, heavy shell, which makes up around 70% of the weight, it looks like a green-yellow morning star, covered with hard thorns. In fact, there are stories about the killer durian, to which one or the other has already fallen victim. Despite its weight, the durian does not grow on the ground, but on trees. Anyone who is close to ripening durians lives quite dangerous without a helmet. Below is the yellow, soft pulp in small chambers - encased in a penetrating smell, so strong that there are no durian signs in the Singapore subway.

Durian is still quite exotic in the West, even if it has long been available in the Asian supermarket around the corner. So far it has only been popular with minorities, such as migrants who know it from home, gourmands with a penchant for borderline experiences - or in the raw food movement.

Once a year in August, and this year for the last time, the Woodstock Fruit Festival takes place in New York State. It is one of the largest raw food festivals in the world, where you can fill your stomach with unprepared fruit and vegetables for around $ 1300 for a week at the all-you-can-eat buffet. Between meals you can take part in one of the countless yoga or meditation courses, perfect your hula hoop skills or paint mandalas. Among all the fruits, here too, durian is undisputedly the king of fruits. Events like the “Durian Beach Party” or the “Midnight Durian Vampire Party”, at which thousands of durians are consumed, are not dedicated to any other fruit. Durian is something for passionate lovers.

© Year of the Durian

One can only hope that the western durian clientele is not limited to die-hard raw food fans. It would be a shame because the taste is really heavenly. It is an art to find the perfect moment for the durian; Knowing about durian is a bit like being a wine or cheese connoisseur in Asia. There are dozens of varieties and hybrids, even breeds of durian without odor. Paradoxically, this strain sounds like a perfume: Chanthaburi No. 1. And it is just as expensive.