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Southeast Asia’s Smelly Delicacy

What comes to mind when you think of eating your ideal fruit? The tasty inside? The appealing outside? The fragrant smell? How about a beat-up, greenish-looking fruit with spikes covering the outside and a smell so bad that countries have banned the fruit on public transport. I am, of course, talking about a durian, a fruit native to Southeast Asia and whose disgusting smell has made it banned in many public places such as markets, airports, and taxis. Though many people often are too obsessed with the smell to give this curious fruit a try, there is more to it than first meets the nose. 

The durian is a very peculiar fruit. Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, the durian is said to have a taste that is difficult to describe. The flavor you get when tasting durian depends on many variables. If the fruit is harvested early, many people describe it as a vegetable because the flesh is hard, easy to handle, and slightly bitter in taste. This contrasts the taste of when it is harvested late, as it presents a taste that is much sweeter. This is why many people prefer durian to be overripe. Another reason is that the citrus flavors are much more noticeable. Today there are over 30 types of durian, but only nine provide edible fruit. The many types add to the complicated taste and smell that is impossible to describe. One description gives the general idea of a thick mousse with many hints of almond but occasionally other flavors present themselves in the fruit including cream cheese, wine, onion, and other contradictory flavors.

The smell of a durian is what makes the fruit one of the most fascinating in the world. It is said to be one of the most repulsive-smelling fruits on Earth. The smelly snack’s pungent smell has been compared to raw sewage, smelly gym socks, and rotting flesh. Although that last one may have been a bit of an exaggeration, the durian has been banned from numerous public places in multiple countries. Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong have banned durian across many forms of public transport. Singapore has gone as far as to ban durian across all public transport – including taxis. For some people, the smell is too hard to get over and they are not able to taste the peculiar flavors that live inside; but for those who do, the durian not only offers a mixed bag of flavors but many health benefits.

Packed with iron, vitamin C, and potassium, the durian is said to improve muscle strength, skin health, and lower blood pressure. This is all coupled with the fact that one durian carries almost 23g of fiber, which meets the daily recommendation. Durian is never going to be the fruit that catches your eye in the supermarket, and although it may catch your nose, it’s safe to say the curiosity encapsulated in the durian is here to stay. 


Works Cited (APA 7 Style)

Durian fruit: A smell so rotten, a taste so sweet – CNN Video. (n.d.).

Prianka Ghosh. (2016, September 30). 8 Things You Need To Know About Durian Fruit: The World’s Smelliest Snack. Culture Trip; The Culture Trip.

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