Durian is the fruit of several species of trees in the genus Durio, especially Durio zibethinus. There are 25 to 30 Durio species in total, all native to south-eastern Asia.
- The durian — neither Wallace or Darwin agreed on it.
Darwin said "may your worst enemies be forced to feed on it."
Wallace cried "it's delicious."
Darwin replied "I'm suspicious",
For the flavour is scented
Like papaya fermented
After a fruit-eating bat has pee'd on it.
- Horticulture, 1973 . Refers to Alfred Wallace, who cited an enthusiastic long list of durian recipes in his book.
- There was a great abundance and variety of tropical fruits, but the dorian was never in evidence. It was never the season for the dorian. It was always going to arrive from Burma sometime or other, but it never did. By all accounts it was a most strange fruit, and incomparably delicious to the taste, but not to the smell. Its rind was said to exude a stench of so atrocious a nature that when a dorian was in the room even the presence of a polecat was a refreshment. We found many who had eaten the dorian, and they all spoke of it with a sort of rapture. They said that if you could hold your nose until the fruit was in your mouth a sacred joy would suffuse you from head to foot that would make you oblivious to the smell of the rind, but that if your grip slipped and you caught the smell of the rind before the fruit was in your mouth, you would faint. There is a fortune in that rind. Some day somebody will import it into Europe and sell it for cheese.
- Mark Twain, Following The Equator
- One day when I was practicing chanting in my temple in Vietnam, there was a durian on the altar that had been offered to the Buddha. I was trying to recite the Lotus Sutra, using a wooden drum and a large bowl-shaped bell for accompaniment, but I could not concentrate at all. I finally carried the bell to the altar and turned it upside down to imprison the durian, so I could chant the sutra. After I finished, I bowed to the Buddha and liberated the durian. If you were to say to me, "Thây, I love you so much I would like you to eat some of this durian," I would suffer. You love me, you want me to be happy, but you force me to eat durian. That is an example of love without understanding. Your intention is good, but you don't have the correct understanding.
- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, Broadway, 1999, ISBN 0767903692, p. 171.
- For example, imagine part of a review of literature on the theological significance (tongue-in-cheek, of course) of the durian, that Asian fruit that has only lovers and haters: "Professor Adriel Sandoval, in agreement with Yeng Ka Seng and Komarno, states that durian will be the fruit of the tree of life. (References tor all three) Sandoval goes so far as to suggest that only the durian could have been tempting enough to Adam and Eve to cause them to disobey God's instructions, (Reference) In clear opposition to his position is that of Vasince Suvonapong, who claims that durian came into being only after the fall, once decay and decomposition had set in. (Reference)"
- Nancy Vyhmeister, Quality Research Papers, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310239451, p. 182.
- "I have been spending a small fortune in durians, they are relatively cheap and very good this season in Singapore. Like all the good things in Nature--tempests, breakers, sunsets, &c. durian is indescribable. It is meat and drink and an unrivalled delicacy besides, and you may gorge to repletion and never have cause for penitence. It is the one case where Nature has tried her hand at the culinary art and beaten all the CORDON BLEUE out of heaven and earth. Would to Heaven she had been more lavish of her essays!
"Though all durians are, perhaps, much alike and not divided like apples and mangoes into varieties, the flavour varies much according to size and ripeness. In some the taste of the custard surrounding the heart-like seeds rises almost to the height of passion, rapture, or mild delirium. Yesterday (21st June, 1907) about 2 p.m. I devoured the contents of a fruit weighing over 10 lb. At 6 p.m. I was too sleepy to eat anything, and thence had twelve hours of almost unbroken slumber."
- E. J. Banfield, quoting a friend in My Tropic Isle, T. Fisher Unwin, 1911
- Most disgusting of all was the rush [by starving POWs] for the durian nuts [discarded by the Japanese guards]. Of all the fruits in the world, the durian is surely one of the most delicious. Growing on high trees, about the size of a melon, it contains within its tough prickly exterior, kernels the size of chestnuts, surrounded by a soft, sticky, whitish substance. It is this latter substance that possesses the truly wonderful, but indescribable taste, approaching nearest to a concoction of banana and sweetened condensed milk with a haunting flavour that might be onions but which is not. The drawback of the durian is its smell, not only existing in the fruit but residual - stronger by far than pickled onions - so that Europeans never eat them normally, except when out of contact with their countrymen or at special durian parties. The natives believe them to harbour aphrodisiac properties. Perhaps that is why the Japanese ate them. .... However, they enjoyed the fruit. Having sucked away the sticky flesh, they spat out the nuts. Thereupon a few men, mainly the garbage fiends, [the men who scavenged for food on rubbish heaps] would scramble for them. Sometimes they even transferred the nuts straight to their own mouths .... always the nuts were, for ultimate consumption, later baked over a fire.
- Ernest G. Darch, Survival in Japanese POW Camps with Changkol and Basket, London: Minerva Press, 2000, p. 155
- [The] durian, of all tropical fruits the most captivating. The unopened fruit was about the siza and shape of a rugby ball; a ball covered with pyramidal spikes which presented a formidable obstacle to entry. Inspection revealed that the outer casing was segmented, and a parang [a type of long, machete-like knife]] inserted between two segemnts could prise the fruit open to reveal within each segment large seeds, coated thickly with an amber creamy flesh, tasting of almonds, bad drains and methylated spirits. The initial reaction was one of revulsion but those who went on to taste were lost forever, hooked for life. And durian was more than a delicacy: it was a meal in itself, rich in everything the body needed.
- The Revd. Peter H. Howes, In A Fair Ground, 1994, p. 82
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