“An Acquired Taste”


 After years of sampling a variety of local cuisine, I finally ate my first durian.

The durian is the hedgehog of the fruit world in both size and shape.  Most prominent is its covering of large, solid thorns. That, and the smell, which can be described as somewhere between Epoisses cheese and my teenage son’s gym shoes. Which he wears without socks.

Despite this, I was looking forward to giving the durian a try. My assumption was that given its popularity in Singapore and cost (nearly $45 USD each)  there must be some delicious treat inside.

 That assumption was incorrect.

 My colleagues and I purchased a durian and the shop proprietor sliced it open using a machete.  Once opened, the durian revealed five sections with objects that looked like enormous banana slugs. Unfortunately; they also had the texture of a banana slug. This is considered the “good part” of the durian.

 “So, what do I do?” I ask my colleagues.

 “You just  break off a piece and eat it.”

 “Like so?”

 “Yes, just break it off and chew it. We’ve been eating this since we were children.”

 “Ok. I’ll give it a try,” I say as I pinch an inch long chunk and throw it into my mouth, chewing quickly.

 “Well, do you like it? a colleague asks with a suggestion of hope in her voice.

 Normally, in this situation, I would take one for the team, put on a smile and say something neutral like “interesting flavor”.

 But the taste of the durian compelled only one response: “This is awful.”

 To which I repeatedly received this polite reply: “It must be an acquired taste.” Then my friends dug into the durian like it was cotton candy.

Now certain things in life I consider an “acquired taste”: the automotive styling of the Prius C; any music by Psy; the Philadelphia Phillies; Zumba and recumbent bicycles are just a few examples that come to mind. The durian? Definitely, NOT an acquired taste. In fact, I’m not sure which marketing agency the Durian Fruit Growers Association is using, but they are doing an outstanding job.


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5 responses to ““An Acquired Taste”

  1. Nancy

    Wow, interesting. Thanks for being the guinea pig while educating us. I see this stinky fruit is actually prohibited on mass transit in some places…

  2. Dick Dillon

    You are a Hero, no way would I touch it, let alone put a piece in my mouth.

  3. Polish Super Hero

    Did you try to outside of the fruit? It might taste better.

  4. When I was working at Cisco someone reported a gaseous toxic smell on our floor. Security was called and the alarm was sounded. The entire building was evacuated. After an hour of clearing the building – security narrowed down the source of the “smell” in the break room – only to discover that some “kind” soul had brought in a durian and placed it on the table with a sign that said “try me”. Our brave security officer Victor, tried the fruit and promptly discarded the whole thing. After we all were cleared to re-enter the building – an notice was sent out to the building NOT to ever bring the fruit on the the premises again. For those of us that tried it…it was no bueno!!

  5. Mike, So sorry to hear you found the taste of durian awful! I’m one of those who has acquired this taste and found the best ones has the texture of soft ice cream.
    P.S. You may find it surprising. There are durians for sale in one of the largest discount supermarket chain in their vegetables section! We were a bit shocked when we first saw it for sale a few years ago given their strong smell. 🙂

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