Day 3 extra: No Durians

No Durians

The hotel where Pati and BeeBee are staying has a peculiar sign posted at the entrance to the restaurant and beside the elevator doors on the ground floor. They have seen similar signs in India. These signs say “No Durians” in bold red letters.

The musang king durian is known as the king of fruit in Malasia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. According to Pati and BeeBee’s guide, it has a green spiky outer skin, a large inner pit, and flesh similar to, but creamier than, that of the avocado. The taste has been described as similar to an overripe banana.  It is popular in other countries also, and is especially prized by the Chinese.

The problem with the durian, according to Smithsonian Magazine, is that the durian smells like “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.”  Others say it smells like dead rat. It is banned on some trains and in some airports, as well as in hotels in south-east Asia.

The guide described an instance in her experience where a guest at a hotel brought in a durian. The staff said they would keep it for her, wrapped up tightly. If she wanted to eat it, she would have to go out in the nearby field to do so.

As with kimchi, the durian is beginning to have followers, even in the UK. Pati and BeeBee will probably forego this fad.