image description May 8, 2013

Bizarre Bites: Durian

Bizarre Bites: Durian

King of Fruits

Is it rotten onions? Funky garbage fumes? A dirty gym sock after a high school basketball tourney? No, that could simply be fresh fruit. Durian, known in Asia as the “king of fruits,” is crowned with a spiky exterior and filled with stinky fruit flesh. This fruit from the durian tree is a popular snack in Southeast Asia. It looks scary, but smells scarier. The bowling ball-sized fruit is covered in 2-inch greenish-brown thorns that can pierce the skin if you’re not careful. The smell of durian is so strong, it permeates the inch-thick husk. I’ve eaten durian about 15 times, and I just don’t like it. I don’t like the taste or it’s mouth feel. But if you can get past the threatening exterior and the harsh smell, you might end up loving the fruit.

Andrew Zimmern cuts open a durian fruit.

Andrew Zimmern cuts open a durian fruit. (Photo Credit: Travel Channel)

A Fruit that’s NOT Good for You?

Even though it’s a fruit, durian doesn’t necessarily do the body good. It can cause excessive sweating, raise your blood pressure, and should be avoided altogether if you’re pregnant. According to a study by the University of Tsukuba in Japan, the sulfur in the fruit can inhibit the body’s ability to clear away toxins in other foods and in your body by 70 percent. This means it is very dangerous to consume the fruit with medications, alcohol, or even the caffeine in coffee and soda.

It’s probably a good idea not to over do it on the durian, but remember it’s still important to eat plenty of fruits and veggies everyday (five to nine servings). Why? They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and water. All things important in keeping your body healthy.

Illustration by: Chuck Gonzales

Other Smelly Foods

POPCORN: Just try making popcorn without someone asking you, “Did someone make popcorn?” Impossible.

SURSTRÖMMING: Fermented herring. Let the dry heaving commence!

100-YEAR EGG: An egg packed with tea water, clay, lime, ash, and salt, then rolled in rice hulls. If that’s not smelly enough, the egg is then left to sit for three years. It tastes like cheese, very stinky cheese.

ANY SORT OF FISH PRODUCT in the microwave. Unless you live with seals, no one will appreciate that lingering scent.

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