Monday, January 28, 2008

Mystery Fruit?

Ah, yes that lovable stinky fruit that we talk about yesterday. We figured that some of you would know what it was, and that maybe some of you might hazard a guess.

Well, I would think that letting you know it was a Malaysian fruit that stinks would have been enough for anyone with an internet. In fact typing in just that "Malaysian stinky fruit" returns a list of sites that tell you exactly what it was we ate.

Apparently the smell is so bad that it is banned in a lot of places throughout most of Asia. However, here in China, it's out in the open and they cut it apart right in the supermarket. Once I knew what the smell was I was alright with buying the meat in the supermarket, but before that I just presumed that there meat was starting to rot.

To quote from that semi-credible source Wikipedia:

  • Writing in 1856, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace provides a much-quoted description ... “The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the eatable part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop.

  • Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says “... its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia.

  • Singapore, the strong demand for high quality cultivars such as the D24, Sultan, and Mao Shan Wang has resulted in typical retail prices of between S$8 to S$15 (US$5 to US$10) per kilogram of whole fruit. With an average weight of about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb),..

Yep, read up on it, and if you're visiting we will try and see if we can get a sample of some durian for you to try.


Gabby Girl said...

I just saw this fruit on the travel channel I think. They were driving down the street and there were pictures of the fruit with big X's every where. Apparently, a lot of people think they are a nuisance and don't want them around at all. You mentioned that in your post. How is Xiamen these days?

Mark said...

Ah yes, the durian, I'm surprised that you didn't run across it during your time here. It's not a smell you can miss, but it is easy to mistake it for something rotting in the market.

You're missing out on a lot of construction, and a rough cold stretch, here is Xiamen, other than that it's still the same old thing.

Congratulations on getting a job, good luck with that...