Native to Asia but available in the UK, this prickly fruit is the one that's best described as "smells like hell, tastes like heaven"... Well, while it doesn't smell great, I wouldn't say it was hell - or maybe I'm just biased!
Anyway... I was recounting how much I have come to love the durian even though my first taste of it was less than spectacular. It was 1999 at our first ever David Wolfe event in London and a few of us huddled around a table out the back as John C. generously opened one up for some of us to try. I say generously because one of these beauties costs upwards of £12 in London, with a decent sized one retailing at around £15/£16 - so no small deal!
I thought it had the texture of cooked chicken, and the taste didn't do a lot for me. I didn't like it or dislike it especially - it's very hard to describe - but thank goodness I gave it a second go as it has become one of my favourite foods of all time.
if you'd like to learn more about the durian, a good place to start is www.durianpalace.com.
If you live in the UK and want to try some here are some places you're likely to find it:
1) China Town, London
2) Oriental City, Edgware Road, London (massive supermarket, well worth a visit)
3) Most major cities have Asian shops - look out for them, and if you don't see durian, ask. It may be whole or in containers. Sometimes they'll order it in for you.
4) By mail order from French raw food company Orkos - www.orkos.com. This is a good company who have really got their act together over the past year or so. They sell a very specilaised range of raw/ wild foods, well worth a look if only to browse! Orders need to be placed on Monday for Tuesday dispatch and Wednesday delivery - from memory ; ) Worth checking! Angelica is the best contact for English speaking customers.
Happy Durian Hunting!