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Should Durian Be Destinked?

If you've ever had fresh durian, you'll know that the pungent odor, along with its spiky exterior, is its signature mark. However many are convinced that the smell, which is often described as moldy cheese, rotting fish or garbage, is what makes it taste great. Like fine French cheeses (think camembert or worse), the stronger the smell, the better the taste.

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

So then, what is a durian that doesn't smell? And will it have the same delicious taste?

Thai scientist, Songpol Somsri, has been working for nearly three decades to destink the durian. By cross breeding more than 90 varieties of durian, Somsri says he has come up with a fruit that smells "as mild as a banana." He hopes that the fruit, named Chantaburi No. 1 (after his home province), will help broaden the American and European durian markets. However all of his hard work is not being met with 100% praise.

Durian lovers are at once disbelieving of and horrified by the prospect of a no-smell durian. They complain that the fruit is being homogenized like the insipid tomatoes bred to look pretty behind plastic wrap.

Source: NY Times

So how about you, what do you think of this?

Join The Conversation
ces016 ces016 9 years
Durian, is one of the fruits that you can find in the Philippines., Yes, seriously it smells ..... can't explain the smell, but the taste is good. :feedme:
rawkphish rawkphish 10 years
Truth be told, i don't really mind the smell that much. But i would definitely like to try it without the smell to compare. But i'm sure just like everything else, original is still better.
celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 10 years
the fruit is so fresh and sweet, who cares about how it smells on the outside?
talida talida 10 years
I am definitely the minority - I love it AND the smell! Yes, I grew up eating it... but I think papayas smell far worse than durians.
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
This creeped me out when I read about it on A Muffin Story. (PS, thanks for the link to this Yum, I check out Andrea's page daily!)
satirist satirist 10 years
Aww people durians are fantastic! Yeah the smell can be a bit much but for durian-lovers the smell is part of the entire durian eating experience. A smell-less durian? Gosh that sounds terrible already :[ Pleaseeee go try durians if you guys ever get the chance to!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
The NYT article was interesting. Like many others, I didn't know anything about durians prior to this. Now, I'm curious!
mairay mairay 10 years
I love durians! And it's smells nothing like dead animals. What an exaggeration! Sheesh..
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
:jawdrop: it does NOT smell like kitty poop!! :rotfl: :rotfl: i heart durians ya'll!
Kirei-Makeup Kirei-Makeup 10 years
may be it's just smth new to non-Asians..most Asians love durians..the smell is not that bad, come on...if you get used to it it'd be great...if you can't stand the smell, try durian ice cream..durian has been around for as long as I can remember, why do we have to de-stink it now?? those scientists should be doing smth more useful than just de-stinking durian..try de-stinking garbage
Athena1 Athena1 10 years
You eat it alone, and like many fruits in Asia, you eat it without any other food usually as a dessert or a snack. You just crack it open and enjoy with friends and family.
SU3 SU3 10 years
Do you eat it alone or with something else? Is it used for a special dish?? I've never heard of it.
Athena1 Athena1 10 years
I read this yesterday as well. My dad is appalled at the idea of gentle smelling durian. Haha. I agree with the article in that for most people who have eaten durian more than a couple times, the smell doesn't seem bad anymore. I don't even remember how bad it use to smell because I love it so much now. You basically get use to it and your brain associates it with the good taste. Mmmm.
kayleigh83 kayleigh83 10 years
I've never understood stuff like this. Sure, maybe it does taste good.. but it smells AWFUL. So who was it that stumbled upon a piece of fruit that smelled like a rotting corpse and thought, "hey! wonder what it tastes like? let's see!"
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
ewww i hate durians! i really tried to get into them once, but i just couldn't. in hong kong, they have durian flavoured ice cream!
ZergGirl ZergGirl 10 years
I'd certainly be willing to try one if I could find it. But I might not bring it home if it smells that bad, tho.
lemuse20 lemuse20 10 years
I saw these at an international grocery like a month ago, I've read that they've been banned from being served at hotels because the smell is so terrible, and it doesn't go away.. and also that it smells like dirty feet...
Food Food 10 years
Durians are actually quite large (think melon sized) and have spiky points all on the outside. When you break it open the inside is sort of custardy and has a nutty/sweet flavor. In a related note, the odor is so strong it's actually banned on many asian subways/trains.
creamytofu creamytofu 10 years
it smells like kitty poop...very strong kitty poop...but it doesnt reallie taste tat bad...if u can get over the will feel like kitty poop in your mouth...
colormesticky colormesticky 10 years
If it smells like a dead cat, why on EARTH would you eat it in the first place?!?
calamari calamari 10 years
I've never heard of a Durian, is it like a Lychee?
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