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    Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 2:01 pm
    Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 2:01 pm Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 2:01 pm
    So much completely polarized prose is out there about this fruit that I had to pick one up from H-Mart while I was shopping for the 2008 LTH picnic. I'd been curious for a long while, and though I'd had a Durian Bubble Tea (which tasted mostly of nothing) this didn't sate my curiousity about the real experience. The fruit, still frozen, didn't smell at all, so I wrapped it carefully in two insulated bags and stuck it in the deep-freeze. A few days later when I was making picnic preparations, I went down to the deep freeze and called in alarm, "I smell a gas leak." The 'spouse came down quickly and responded "no, that's sewer gas," and started looking at our plumbing. Of course, we since learned that the distinctive smell was the Durian, whose pungency permeated two insulated bags and our freezer seal. The smell is very distinctive - it has a kind of burnt quality to it; it reminded me of stale smoke in a jazz bar.

    Other comments on that particular Durian can be found starting here, in the 2008 picnic thread. I tried it twice, once while still frozen, and once late in the afternoon when it was well-thawed. My impression? Kind of like a sorority Christmas party - think really rich, thick, foofy eggnog with an aftertaste of stale cigarettes and just a hint of OMG I drank too much. Would I eat it again if offered? Sure, especially if the world runs out of eggs and milk - the vanilla-y custardy ness was nice, but not nicer than a really good Ouefs a la Neige. The aftertaste sticks (cigarette butt on the back of your tongue) with you for a while, and at least it made me believe I was breathing dragon-stink on the people I was talking to (sorry if that was the case.) It wasn't a favorite, but I'm glad I tried it - I don't feel the need to add it to our grocery list, though.

    More importantly, the smell (which I consider to be only mildly unpleasant; I don't get some of the extremes you read about it) has permeated our freezer and some of the foods there, so today I googled "Durian smell get rid of." God bless Google, the third or fourth hit suggests you sacrifice some bread to absorb the smell, and then throw it away. Gonna try the old standby of sprinkling with baking soda first, though...
  • Post #2 - September 15th, 2008, 1:18 am
    Post #2 - September 15th, 2008, 1:18 am Post #2 - September 15th, 2008, 1:18 am
    From what I've heard, it is in fact that permeating quality that makes it so unpopular with hotels in areas where durian is popular. It's really hard to get rid of the smell—especially if someone drips juice or such on the rug. And apparently, the smell is stronger if it's picked really ripe off the tree. But the big issue is permeating and hanging on. It may not smell so bad in an open-air venue, but if you're sleeping on a hotel bed where someone was eating durian the night before, it might not be such a pleasant experience.

    And for what it's worth, I quite liked the durian -- but I did note the rotten-onion back note, and I wouldn't want to have to live with it.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #3 - September 19th, 2008, 1:36 pm
    Post #3 - September 19th, 2008, 1:36 pm Post #3 - September 19th, 2008, 1:36 pm
    Anyone know where to buy some durian around the N/NW suburbs?
    Hillary
    http://chewonthatblog.com <--A Chicago Food Blog!
  • Post #4 - September 19th, 2008, 1:57 pm
    Post #4 - September 19th, 2008, 1:57 pm Post #4 - September 19th, 2008, 1:57 pm
    Most Asian grocers will have them - I've seen them at both H-Martand Assi Plaza - both are a little south of Northbrook. A lot of the smaller, Mom and Pop ones have them, too, though.
  • Post #5 - September 30th, 2008, 8:18 am
    Post #5 - September 30th, 2008, 8:18 am Post #5 - September 30th, 2008, 8:18 am
    I've seen it frozen at a couple of Asian markets in Uptown.

    Anybody know where I can get it fresh? While I know durian is a complete turn-off to some (to others its a complete turn-on), I somehow picked up a little habit while I was in Cambodia and am now craving some.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #6 - September 30th, 2008, 11:25 am
    Post #6 - September 30th, 2008, 11:25 am Post #6 - September 30th, 2008, 11:25 am
    I was up on Argyle this weekend and saw some at the supermarkets. The sign said "fresh durian" and it was definitely at room temperature, but I was under the impression that all durian imported into the US had to be frozen at some point. If you give it a try, let me know!
  • Post #7 - September 30th, 2008, 3:12 pm
    Post #7 - September 30th, 2008, 3:12 pm Post #7 - September 30th, 2008, 3:12 pm
    I bought a fresh one in SF's Chinatown some years back. I'm still not sure if I liked it or not.

    A good way to try durian is in Sticky Rice's dessert. Sticky rice and durian are submerged in coconutty milk, which allows the delicious flavor of the durian to be enjoyed without (much) of the smell. Mmm, can I justify a trip tonight just for dessert?
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
  • Post #8 - October 2nd, 2008, 4:39 pm
    Post #8 - October 2nd, 2008, 4:39 pm Post #8 - October 2nd, 2008, 4:39 pm
    Thank you for the recommendations - I have been meaning to try durian. But now I'm scared I'll spill some juice somewhere. I better go with the stuff I don't have to chop up and prepare myself!
    Hillary
    http://chewonthatblog.com <--A Chicago Food Blog!
  • Post #9 - December 8th, 2013, 7:20 am
    Post #9 - December 8th, 2013, 7:20 am Post #9 - December 8th, 2013, 7:20 am
    A Love Letter to a Smelly Fruit

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/trave ... .html?_r=0
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #10 - December 8th, 2013, 8:32 pm
    Post #10 - December 8th, 2013, 8:32 pm Post #10 - December 8th, 2013, 8:32 pm
    The first time I had Durian, I hated it. Just terrible. It tasted like someone fed me some stove gas. Then I went to Malaysia earlier this year and smelled it on the street. I could actually smell the fruit in it, but still didn't try it. I just had durian in a Joy Yee smoothie the other week and have to say I could actually drink it. The fruit flavor kind of came out, but I know they didn't put a ton in there. A little side note is the Joy Yee on Irving Park puts more Durian in the smoothies than the Chinatown location.

    Talking with my friends from SE Asia, they say they don't trust Durian here 100% because it's frozen therefore not as fresh, thus not as good. You can't ship it here fresh because it'll die, at least Malaysian Durian, so they have to freeze it. That probably explains why my first experience with it, in Chicago, was bad, and why it smelled better in SE Asia on the street.

    You can buy it at the stores on Argyle, and they probably aren't terrible, but according to my Durian purist friends, they don't do it. Apparently there's an entire grading scale of Durian out there. I believe Musang King is the most sought after type, then I believe D24. One of my friends' family actually runs a Durian plantation in Malaysia - pretty funny.
  • Post #11 - June 30th, 2018, 11:01 am
    Post #11 - June 30th, 2018, 11:01 am Post #11 - June 30th, 2018, 11:01 am
    marothisu wrote:You can buy it at the stores on Argyle . . .

    Saw whole, fresh ones at Viet Hoa the other day. Forgot to note the price, though.

    =R=

    1051 W Argyle St
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  • Post #12 - July 2nd, 2018, 3:07 pm
    Post #12 - July 2nd, 2018, 3:07 pm Post #12 - July 2nd, 2018, 3:07 pm
    I tried durian in Nias, Indonesia almost 30 years ago. I was always curious and had no idea how to pick out a ripe and good specimen. I had our guide pick out the best one at the local market. The infamous 'stinky feet' smell was not an issue for me but the whole transaction occured outside. He sliced it open and pulled out a small piece for me to taste. I expected a foul smelling fruit with a nice taste. However, I really did not care for the non sweet taste and creamy texture but he and the driver ate the whole thing in no time stating it was delicious. Unlike the CTA, in Singapore durians are not allowed on the subway.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #13 - July 17th, 2018, 9:15 pm
    Post #13 - July 17th, 2018, 9:15 pm Post #13 - July 17th, 2018, 9:15 pm
    Mhays wrote:So much completely polarized prose is out there about this fruit that I had to pick one up from H-Mart while I was shopping for the 2008 LTH picnic. I'd been curious for a long while, and though I'd had a Durian Bubble Tea (which tasted mostly of nothing) this didn't sate my curiousity about the real experience. The fruit, still frozen, didn't smell at all, so I wrapped it carefully in two insulated bags and stuck it in the deep-freeze. A few days later when I was making picnic preparations, I went down to the deep freeze and called in alarm, "I smell a gas leak." The 'spouse came down quickly and responded "no, that's sewer gas," and started looking at our plumbing. Of course, we since learned that the distinctive smell was the Durian, whose pungency permeated two insulated bags and our freezer seal. The smell is very distinctive - it has a kind of burnt quality to it; it reminded me of stale smoke in a jazz bar.

    Other comments on that particular Durian can be found starting here, in the 2008 picnic thread. I tried it twice, once while still frozen, and once late in the afternoon when it was well-thawed. My impression? Kind of like a sorority Christmas party - think really rich, thick, foofy eggnog with an aftertaste of stale cigarettes and just a hint of OMG I drank too much. Would I eat it again if offered? Sure, especially if the world runs out of eggs and milk - the vanilla-y custardy ness was nice, but not nicer than a really good Ouefs a la Neige. The aftertaste sticks (cigarette butt on the back of your tongue) with you for a while, and at least it made me believe I was breathing dragon-stink on the people I was talking to (sorry if that was the case.) It wasn't a favorite, but I'm glad I tried it - I don't feel the need to add it to our grocery list, though.

    More importantly, the smell (which I consider to be only mildly unpleasant; I don't get some of the extremes you read about it) has permeated our freezer and some of the foods there, so today I googled "Durian smell get rid of." God bless Google, the third or fourth hit suggests you sacrifice some bread to absorb the smell, and then throw it away. Gonna try the old standby of sprinkling with baking soda first, though...


    Yes....any Durian sold in the United States are frozen when they leave SE Asia and arrive into the "asian" markets since they won't survive the long trip at room temperature yet alone in a hot shipping container out in sea. They arrive by boat and not by plane. They are packed into shipping containers, out in sea for a month or two, docked into the port in San Pedro, CA until unloaded and trucked across America ending up in your "asian" markets all while still frozen.

    So if you see the sign "Fresh Durian" someone is not telling you the truth and/or it may mean "Freshly arrived Durian" that was previously frozen and left out to thaw for one reason or another? Or someone managed to sneak in a large amount in their baggage from SE Asia and re-sold them to the markets (I don't think so). Fresh durians will never survive without being frozen coming to America or even China....they will rot and emit a much stronger smell.

    There are over 30 varieties of Durian grown in SE Asia. The Monthong is the most common and the most smelly. There are a few varieties that do not emit a strong odor. I have tasted a few sold along the roadside stands when we went on a Durian tasting spree in Thailand where they are grown in nearby farms, and in food markets and local markets. All were sweet in taste and the smell varied according to the variety.

    Fresh is always best compared to frozen which you will never find in the freezer case in SE Asia. The prices of the Durian will vary according to the varieties. The most expensive variety can also be smelly. But note that each person's taste buds varies and some will find durian sweet or nasty. Most will dislike the smell until they taste it and others will just not like it - period! It is an acquired taste if you can handle the smell. To avoid the smell, get the variety that is low in smell which you may not find in America but only in SE Asia. When you go to SE Asia....you can sample them for the variety you like.

    My sister-in-law has a few durian trees on her "farmette" in Suphanburi, Thailand in addition to the 100+ Mango trees, and jackfruit, papaya, dragonfruit, and pineapples fruits. During mango season....we have to give them away FREE because we have too many of them.

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