Asian Fruit Adventure

I wanted to try some new foods the other day, so I went wandering around an Asian grocery store. I found canned lychees, jackfruit, longans, and mangosteens. Hubby and I tried each one.

These are the lychees. They were probably my favorite. The texture is a bit crunchy, reminiscent of onions, but the flavor was similar to canned mandarin oranges, without being citrus-y. They were lightly sweet, and slightly perfumey.

Jackfruit reminded me of mango, but more fibery. These were my second favorite.

These are the mangosteens. They were squishy, like melt in your mouth squishy. The flavor was sweet and light, but the texture was off-putting to me. Hubby liked them though. Some of them had seeds inside, but the seeds were kind of like very soft almonds. They were edible, but I wasn’t a fan. The longans were almost the same as the lychees, just smaller.

The object that inspired the whole adventure was the durian. I read a book that mentioned that an American soldier stationed in Vietnam loved these and had a crate shipped back home to the US. When it got here, the port authority thought it was a box of something rotten and threw it out. Did I take this as a warning? Nope. I thought “Surely it can’t be that bad. Why would people grow and eat it if it was that terrible?”

It looks like mashed up bananas, and the texture is kind of similar. The flavor is lightly sweet and creamy, if you can get past the horrible smell. It smells like the worst, oldest, dirtiest pair of sneakers you can imagine, lit on fire, times a million. I had this box in the freezer, and even though it was wrapped in two layers of plastic, I could smell it in the fridge. My entire kitchen stinks unbearably. We have elected to have the windows open even though it’s 50 degrees outside.

When you taste it, it’s not bad, then the smell invades your nasal cavity and sets up camp. You smell nothing but durian for about 20 minutes, and once it’s faded you keep catching faint whiffs of it. Once that passes, you start burping up durian so you can relive it. Obviously your body is attempting to reject it as quickly as possible, but to no avail. Please, save yourself the misery, and just rest assured that if a food smells like rotten milk burning in a chemical plant, it’s not actually food. I really can’t express how horrid it is. I have had to promise, willingly, never to bring it into the house again. We’re now calling this the Great Durian Disaster. Just looking at the pictures makes my stomach roil.

I had to get that horrible taint out of my mouth, so we ate some smoked gouda, and smoked cheddar from Sprouts, which were both amazing, with a honey crisp apple. The gouda was probably my favorite, and helped erase the memory of the horrendous durian.

If you hate your roommates/family members and want to make them suffer, it is STILL NOT WORTH IT to bring a durian into your home! You have been warned!!


November 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . My Quest to be more Interesting.


  1. Sara A. replied:

    Durian is called “rotten corpse fruit.”

    If you want to get the smell out, go to Planet K or another headshop and get a can of Ozium. This is an industrial strength aerosol deodorizer. I think it is the same stuff biohazard cleaning services use when someone dies, and it is probably the only stuff that stands a chance against a durian.

    • thatcleverchick replied:

      Fortunately leaving the windows open overnight seemed to clear the house. I’ll keep that stuff in mind for all my future horrific fruit purchases 🙂

  2. your intrepid traveler replied:

    Durian? Seriously? Durian???
    Obviously you do not remember my post on MY blog from a few years back. I wrote about how horrid the taste of durian was back then. What is the point of our civilization learning to write and communicate ideas to the next generation (you) if you fail to learn from our discoveries? HMMM??

    In order to further punish you (as if smelling Durian was not punishment enough), I am attaching my story which mentions Durian. I think reading about it will cure you from ever wanting to read anything ever again.
    Sorry to have to do this. It is called tough love:


    Hello Gentle readers,

    Editor’s note: There is still time for you to gouge your eyes out to avoid reading this.

    Yes, it is time again for another fact-less, farfetched, and fictitious report from your Intrepid Traveler. As usual, be prepared to be intrigued by tales of wit, wisdom, and ..…(insert in some other word that starts with W, please to complete the alliteration. (why do I have to do all the work?)

    Today’s story is about my current trip to the country of Malaysia. I am here to help my agent, Mr. “R”, sell my equipment into the oil and gas market here. It is a busy time and Malaysia is going to spend a lot of Ringits (their currency) in the next 5 years on offshore drilling and production. Mr. R and I want to help them spend it. Malaysia is bustling with activity, but it is such a quiet, laid back, country that I don’t have anything unusual, or silly to report. I will have to use my own creativity instead. Damn, I hate that. We all know how badly that will turn out.

    This is my second trip to this small nation. In fact, Malaysia is so small, it can’t reach the light fixture to change the bulb. It is celebrating 50 years of nationhood this year. (If I am older than the country I am in, shouldn’t that make me KING, or something?) It was 50 years ago that Malaysia gained independence from Great Britain. And the country seems to be thriving despite the Brits forcing them to drive on the wrong side of the road. It seems to be a polite country. They actually use their brakes and turn signals while driving. What a concept. (Are you listening, India?)

    The population is about 60 % Muslim, 30% Christian, and 100% petite. Since I am 6’2”, I tower over these people like Gulliver in Lilliput. Mr. R fits that description. He is a jolly little fellow, who looks a lot like Budda, but thankfully, he wears a shirt. He is so short, that the top of his head only reaches my armpit. Why anyone would want to reach my armpit in this warm and humid climate is not something I care to speculate on.

    I first flew from Houston to Kuala Lumpur, (KL), which is the capital of Malaysia. This is a very modern city with a lovely sounding name but it means “bay mud”. I know this because, I am an expert on local dialects, and because Mr. R told me what it meant. Apparently Kuala Lumpur has a drainage problem.

    The very next day I flew to the city of Miri, which I mistakenly thought was in the country of Brunei. It is not, but my family back home got a chuckle out of me not even knowing what country I was going to. In my defense, Brunei is a really tiny nation, about the size of a mobile home. It was carved out of a sliver of Malaysia, and on a map, it is not clear where one nation ends and the other begins.

    We stayed one day in Miri, then we flew to KK, or Kota Kinabalu, which is on the eastern side of Brunei from Miri. Wasn’t Kota Kinabulu the central character in the movie “Roots”, or was that Kunta Kinte? Or am I thinking of the odd growth removed from the backside of Ross Geller, in the TV show “Friends”, or was that a “Koondis”? Anyway, I digress. There is a lot of offshore oil and gas development occurring here so my agent will be setting up a warehouse in this city.

    There are some islands just offshore from KK which are world renowned for snorkeling. I had planned to book a boat trip to do some diving, but Mr. R changed the schedule at the last minute and we flew back to KL that day. I wish he had told me sooner. I probably looked rather silly at the airport wearing my snorkel, mask and fins.

    Mr. R and I have crisscrossed the country once already. I am five days into a 10 day trip. Since Malaysia is divided in half by the South China Sea, the only way to get from one part of the country to the other is by boat or plane. On this trip, if the plans continue as they are now, I will have taken 12 different planes and connections. I have gone through so many security x-ray machines that it has affected my DNA. I think I am growing gill slits and webbing between my toes. I am de-evolving! My wife always said that would happen if I was out of her care for any length of time.

    The country of Malaysia shows very good sense in one small way, which I will explain. Those of you who are avid readers of my Intrepid Traveler stories, will undoubtedly recall, if you are not too heavily medicated, my reportage from Indonesia. This story was written a few years ago about the fruit called Durian.

    The locals in the small town in Indonesia I was passing thru had built a statue in honor of Durian. The fruit of the Durian is about the size of a pineapple, with dull spikes on the outside and putrid smelling flesh on the inside. This is really horrible stuff. I was brave and tasted it while in Jakarta, and it was perhaps the worst thing I have ever had in my mouth. The awful smell is overpowering, and the taste, as I recall from my repressed memories, was like dead skunk. Of course, I have not actually tasted dead skunk, but I did eat at the campus cafeteria in my college days, so there is a similar culinary history.

    So back to the small town in Indonesia; they built a statue honoring this horrible fruit! They are proud of it? Are they insane? Have they been reading this Intrepid Traveler blog too long? Where is some U.S. Government defoliant when you need it? Anyone spraying Agent Orange would be a super-hero in my book if doing so would eradicate this pestilence from the earth. Anyway, in Malaysia they grow and sell this same fruit on the street corners. But at least the hotels and airlines have the sense to FORBID Durian from being brought inside any buildings or on a plane. Thank goodness.

    So, not much else to report to you, Gentle Readers.. I sit in my agent’s office at this moment with no giant insects crawling up my leg, no threat of Tsunamis, and no one thinks I am Bin Laden (as they did in Columbia, South America). And there are no political hotspots to worry about in Malaysia. It is quite boring in fact. But that can be good. Not for you, the reader, but for this writer, his family, and the actuaries that wrote that big life insurance policy for me last year. So I will end this message, and I will go consult a map to find out where I am. I may also do some research to find what permits I need to import Agent Orange in to Malaysia.

    Your Intrepid Traveler.

    • thatcleverchick replied:

      I had no idea! Well I can see where I get the genes to try a fruit even though it smells like death.

  3. I finally found a dragon fruit | My Attempts at Cleverness replied:

    […] love to try new things, and by “things” I mean food. I had one adventure with Asian fruits, which went well, for the most part. I have been trying to find dragon fruit since then, and have […]

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