Experienced travelers in SE Asia would know what this sign means. No Durian! It would be displayed right outside your hotel along with similar no smoking, no pets, no solicitations, etc. The only thing remotely close to this was seen in a classy motel in far upstate New York that had a sign in the bathroom that said: No Fish Cleaning In The Bathtub. This is the only fruit TPP has known to ever be banned from buildings. It's true, when ripe this hard, spiny rugby-sized fruit can smell something like an open sewer. It isn't pleasant. Yet in Thailand this fruit is a much beloved and favorite food that fetches a considerable price when of high quality. Westerners usually have a very negative reaction like the weird food guy (Andrew Zimmeren) gagging on durian. We laughed because it takes a lot to make that guy gag, but his reaction seemed extreme based on our experiences. What you actually eat is a creamy colored, custardy textured aril that surrounds the seeds inside this very protective fruit. The first record by a westerner of durian comes from no less than Darwin's younger counterpart, Alfred Russel Wallace, "To eat
durian is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience." Now to be fair, he didn't say he liked it, although he did say it was worth the trip in a day and age when it took months, and it would be a new sensation. Far from the love it or leave it extremes, there is a broad middle ground where TPP resides. Both Phactors have had durian on more than one occasion, and our reaction is similar, it's nothing vile, nothing special; we ate enough to be polite. Thai acquaintences snarfed up the rest. It's rich, sort of creamy or soft cheesy in texture and taste, but rather bland, no tartness or normal friutiness at all. We can't figure out the big deal Thai make of it, nor can we understand the negative reaction of so many people. Durian ice cream is OK, the sweetening helps. Only once in the continental USA have we found durian (frozen) for sale (Jungle Jim's, Cincinnati, Ohio); who knows how that is, but it was too expensive for a trial. So for what it's worth, durian has been ticked off our bucket list. If you've given it a try, tell us what you think. Report on any other exotic plant foods too.