Delicious and Succulent Fruits: Indulge 3

Photo: Boripat Lebel

Eau de Durièn by Marché is an acquired smell, to be sure. Personally, I find Eau de Durièn by Marché (from the market) to be a most pleasing scent, sweet and heavy, divine and balmy. But as stated above, it depends on the nose. To some, it is Egyptian opium, to others, it is the stench of a Roman orgy. Touted as the “Emperor of Fruits,” a reputation earned by dint of appearing menacingly lethal, its husk is covered with piercing thorns, a hard shield to hide its soft heart. Speaking of which, the practice of breaking into a durian is an engrossing art to behold. First, the butcher selects the ripest or most ready victim from a mountain pile of durians. This is achieved by whacking each husk in turn with a sort of riding whip, which will elicit a wincing reaction from most people save those into sadistic pleasures. The butcher then listens to the “responses” of each durian, the sound, apparently, capable of determining its stage of readiness. Satisfied with the noise one durian produces, the left hand, protected in a gardening glove, holds the durian in place on a weathered yet sturdy chopping board, while the right wields a gladius-size kitchen sword. The fruit is then hacked into wedges with sanguinary effort. The gory part over, the butcher turns each wedge aside, and thus reveals the protective mold wherein snugs the familiar yellow cream flesh of the durian fruit. The whole process is akin to watching the dissection of a cocoon, whereby the silky case is sliced open, and tucked neatly inside is the pupa. As for the texture and taste of durian, to the connoisseur, it is a sweet, custardy aphrodisiac, a gift from Dionysus. On the other hand, to them who view this infamous fruit with aristocratic disdain, it is an abomination, a poison concocted by the sorceress Medea intended for Jason, her unfaithful man. Personally, I like durian very much.