Durian, the World's Smelliest Fruit

YouTube / The New York Times
YouTube / The New York Times / YouTube / The New York Times

Durian is renowned as the world's stinkiest fruit. As Smithsonian Magazine explained:

"To eat it seems to be the sacrifice of self-respect," wrote 19th-century American journalist Bayard Taylor. French naturalist Henri Mouhot was a bit less delicate: "On first tasting it I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction."

This bat-pollinated fruit is divisive; some foodies love it, most people just retch at the smell. In this New York Times video, Thomas Fuller travels to Thailand to track down fellow Durian lovers. In addition to his article on the fruit, Fuller gives us this short video explaining the fruit, and showing how it's grown (though we don't get to see the bats that pollinate Durian trees). Be glad this isn't in smell-o-vision:

In Fuller's article, he writes (emphasis added):

Yes, I freely admit that when ripe it can smell like a dead animal. Yes, the fruit is difficult to handle, bearing likeness to a medieval weapon. But get down to the pale yellow, creamy flesh, and you’ll experience overtones of hazelnut, apricot, caramelized banana and egg custard. That’s my attempt at describing durian. But words fail; there is no other fruit like it. ...

Okay, that's it. I need to try durian, just to get this over with. Weirdly, lots of people sell it online, freeze-dried (apparently negating the appealing "custardy" texture), though I just discovered that an Asian grocery store near me sells the fruit...perhaps a field trip is in order. I'm a little scared, as one Yelper warns, "The one thing I do find appalling is the Durian Smoothies you can get in the shopping center (a word to the wise, durian really is evil)."

So tell me—is durian really that bad, or that good?

(Via The Kid Should See This.)