Our Man in Hong Kong is Tim Wiseman, an American, a professional man who works for a multinational company. Two years ago, after happily living and working in Colorado Springs for years, he accepted an overseas assignment with his firm in Asia. A self-described Bumpkin, he began writing an email journal of his experiences, exploits, trials, and triumphs (surely there were some) as a stranger in a strange land. Here is one of his humorous and informative Bumpkin Reports, presented in complete and unadulterated form. Caution: The subject matter has been known to cause gustatory and olfactory distress. You’ve been warned.
The Bumpkin Report Volume 49.5 – Durian Tasting Adventure
A Photo Adventure of Durian, The King of Fruits.
My friend Natalie at work regularly introduces me to local foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Last week she said, “Tim, it’s Durian season again. I’m taking you out for a proper hand selected fresh Durian.”
Okay Natalie. I’m ready!
So after work on Friday she took me to the upscale market (rather like the Whole Foods). She then spends 5 minutes consulting with the Durian specialist to determine which of the three varieties will be least toxic for this Bumpkin. I notice the terms on the signs have descriptors like Creaminess and Richness. These are lies. The real translation is Pastiness and Stinky-ness.
After some deliberation the package is selected and we are given plastic gloves to wear because the smell is so strong.
I grab a large bottle of Snapple Raspberry Tea to wash it down and Natalie laughs at me.
We step over to the open seating tables and she proceeds to unwrap the Durian. It is in FOUR layers of plastic. Not kidding.
At this point I am breathing through my mouth to avoid smelling the fruit.
We don our gloves as Natalie tries to describe the texture of Durian. I’m a little concerned when she uses phrases like toothpaste and “stiff yogurt.”
What appears to be a dried mango texture becomes quickly replaced with a slimy and squishy effect that I can feel under the gloves.
The first bite is to hard to describe. Even holding my breath, I can smell the rancid dirty sock/garlic overtones. The texture is like a semi-spoiled banana. It’s unpleasantly pasty and somewhat stringy. Based on texture alone…I’m out.
The after taste lingers and lingers. It’s not as rancid as the initial bite but is still overpowering and DOES NOT go away.
I’m still breathing through my mouth because I know if I smell it, I will gag.
I try two more bites before giving up and drink the entire Snapple.
Natalie loves it. She wraps up the left over to take home.
Two days later I am STILL burping up Durian. Honestly, I’ll eat 10 more fish eyes and a dozen chicken feet before I ever try this again.
Natalie captured this photo journey. Any blurry photos are because she is laughing so hard.
I don’t think Durian should be named the King of Fruits. I think it should be named the Madman Genocidal Dictator of fruits.
Many thanks to the Bumpkin, Tim Wiseman, for sharing this daring Durian tasting adventure. Look for more Bumpkin Reports in the months to come.