Friday, March 30, 2007

The Beginning of the End for Durian Nation

Having the odour of a carcas that has been in the sun for days - a British commentator on the fruit durian.

Odorless durian raises a stink

from the International Herald Tribune

TUNG PHAEN, Thailand: You can take the sugar out of soft drinks and the fat from junk food. But eliminate the pungent odor from the world's smelliest fruit and brace for a major international controversy.

After three decades of research, a Thai government scientist working at an orchard here near the Cambodian border says he has managed to take the stink out of durian.

The spiky Southeast Asian fruit, variously described by its detractors as smelling like garbage, moldy cheese or rotting fish, is banned from many hotels, airlines and the Singapore subway. But durian lovers, and there are many in Asia, are convinced that, like fine French cheeses, the worse the smell, the better the taste.

Read more here. I'll just post the funny quotes from the story.

"Oh, no, this is the beginning of the end," said Bob Halliday, a Bangkok-based food writer, when told about the odorless durian.

"Making a non-smelly durian is like a thornless rose," Halliday said. "It's really cutting out the soul."

"The smell must come out from the durian," said Chang Peik Seng, owner of the Bao Sheng durian farm on the Malaysian island of Penang, as he emphasized the "must." "You cannot hide the smell." It took several minutes to explain the concept to Chang, who ultimately concluded that an odorless durian would flop in his country. "If the durian doesn't have strong smell the customer only pay one-third the price," he said.

Tradition also dictates that mixing alcohol with durian should be avoided at all costs."Durian makes you hot and alcohol makes you hot, so it's double heat," said Somchai Tadchang, the owner of a durian orchard on Kret, an island on the Chao Phraya river north of Bangkok

"To anyone who doesn't like durian, it smells like a bunch of dead cats," said Halliday, the food writer. "But as you get to appreciate durian, the smell is not offensive at all. It's attractive. It makes you drool like a mastiff."

"You might as well be eating watermelon," Halliday said.

The background: Durian is also popular in the southern Philippines. I had it a few times, at first having no clue about the "No Durian" signs in my hotel and the "Durian Nation" t-shirts in the Mall. At first, I thought Durian was some sort of social movement or something. My mother in-law hates the stuff so bad that she does not let it in the house.

One Sunday, wifey and I were in the South End of Boston, just having been to Mass at the Cathedral. I needed to find a bathroom in the worst way so I ran into this Chinese market and turning the corner what did I see? A freezer jammed with durian! "Amazing!" I thought.

A year later, wifey and I were in the delivery room watching a food show from Australian while son #1 took his sweet ole time coming out. That's the origen of the quote at the top of the post.

I like the stuff and I have been threatening to bring it into work. This really motivates me to follow through with my threat.


Anonymous said...

¿qué sobre toda la gente quiénes no tienen una voz, que se ocupará de ella?.

Thomas Shawn said...

Babblefish translates this as:

what on all people who do not have a voice, that will take care of her?

Not sure how to reposnd to this.