Over the years, I’ve watched a lot of “food tv.” I watched wistfully as Anthony Bourdain gorged himself on delicious food at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, cheered along with the masses during various seasons of Top Chef, and binge-watched Andrew Zimmern stuff his mouth full of more testicles than were on Noah’s ark.
But of all the things that Mr. Bizarre Foods consumed, one of the few things he ever spit out was from the center of an odd, spiky fruit native to Thailand called durian. Zimmern described the flavor as being like “rotten, mushy onions” and couldn’t swallow the piece he was given. Bourdain, on the other hand, seems to love the stuff, eating it with gusto during several episodes of his old show on the Travel Channel, No Reservations. Durian is apparently so pungent that many hotels and airlines ban it from being eaten, and while some liken its flavor to custard and almonds, others describe it as having a smell akin to raw sewage and turpentine.
So which is it — revolting stank fruit or delicious delicacy? I decided to put it to the test. I picked up one of the fruits from Mr. Chen’s on South University, grabbed my chef’s knife, and cut right in. Jess took some video of the event in case I ran screaming away from the fruit, so here it is in all its glory: Roberts vs. the durian. Have something weird you want me to eat? Let me know down there in the comments. My next food item was suggested by reader Erin Robinson: balut. Looks like it’s back to Mr. Chen’s for me.