Roy, the owner of one of my favorite blogs: The Bitten Path, kindly gave me a bag of Durian Milk Candy when I had the great pleasure of meeting him in person in his travels through the United States. I thought to myself, “How nice of Roy to give me candy.”
Or was it?!?
About Durian Fruit
A little background on durian: it is a fruit of south east Asia that grows to the size of a small watermelon and has long thorns on its rind. It is also known as having an unpleasant smell but a silky wonderful almond-like taste. To some.
When I lived near Chinatown in San Francisco, occasionally the Chinese markets had crates of durian. And I tried it a few times. It didn’t taste that bad. Actually it didn’t taste like much of anything. But as durian is not indigenous to North America, this durian clearly was picked prematurely, probably ripened on a ship, and lost most of its smell and taste on the journey. Same way grocery store tomatoes look great but taste like absolutely nothing when they are stored and shipped over a multi week period.
Durian Milk Candy
So how would Durian Milk Candy fair on my palate?
The bag had a lot of candy in it, so I brought it to work to share with a few of my colleagues and see what they thought about it.
The first thought I had upon opening the bag was that it smelled like sewage – even though each piece was individually wrapped. But again it is Durian fruit after all – smells like hell but many enjoy the taste.
The candy itself had the texture of a dried taffy. I put it in my mouth and just could not leave it in there. It was acrid, caustic, pungent in a musty sense – not pleasant. I spit it out.
The general consensus of others was the same. Except one guy – he ate the whole piece of candy. He said, “Just keep it in longer.” So I tried a second piece and same result – oh hell no. Spit it out again.
Eating It All
Now a week later, as I promised Roy I would write this post, and he is such a warm, great, adventurous guy, I knew I had to eat the candy to completion. I could not let Roy down like that. I made a commitment to him and he is someone who seems like he would never let others down, therefore I would not let him down.
I opened another piece of the candy and put it in my mouth. I let the sewage smell pass. I got through the acrid and caustic phase. I was not going to spit it out – I would in fact swallow this candy.
After sucking on the candy for a long enough time, the candy softened as its milky gooeyness filled my mouth. I was now tasting it well beyond my tongue. I focused hard on finding hints of honey, almonds, mangoes, and fresh-cut grass. And yes I found them. I explored these flavors in the back of my mouth, in the front of my mouth, around my lips. Yet the honey and almonds seemed rancid. And the mango rotten and the grass already composting.
It took a shot of Bourbon to get the taste out of my mouth. But I am really glad I at least tried it to completion.
The Bitten Path uses a scoring system that I will use here:
Fear Factor – 5 / Taste Test – 1
The Bitten Path reviewed durian fruit as one of its original post: Durian Fruit giving it a Fear Factor of 5 and a Taste Test of ZERO. He also reviewed Durian cookies, Durian chocolate, and Durian Pizza. Mixed results.
To Roy’s credit, he also gave me a box of Chinese teas which are absolutely wonderful and I am enjoying them immensely.
This above content was previously published on The Bitten Path. It has been slightly modified for this blog.
The Worst Thing I Ever Ate
Since I titled this post to be: The Second Worst Thing I Ever Ate, it begs the question, what was the worst thing I ever ate.
That answer is easy: A soup that had jellyfish in it at some Asian Restaurant in Berkeley, California. It was so horrible, I asked the waitress what it was, as I tried to refrain from vomiting at the table. She said Jellyfish. It was the taste (and texture) that nightmares are made of. Should have just vomited – wouldn’t have tasted any worse.