The yoga of fruits: could this be the durian’s crossover moment? | Food | The Guardian


Posted on: June 6, 2019

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With durian desserts turning up on must-try lists and McDonald’s menus, the divisive fruit could be heading to the mainstream Ramadan fast has just broken for the day and the queues at the train station McDonald’s stretch out beyond the shop doors I’m in Kuala Lumpur and, looking around, the most popular item for customers breaking their fast is the durian McFlurry I spent three days making the smoked watermelon ham – but at what cost? Read more The durian in the McFlurry is a jam made from the smelly, spiky fruit mixed into the soft serve and eaten from a cup You can also upgrade and get a durian McFlurry Party, which is durian jam, ice cream and chocolate sauce The durian, a fruit native to Malaysia and Indonesia, has not yet been embraced in large numbers by Australians But its place on an international McDonald’s menu and its inclusion on a “ top 10 must try desserts in Sydney” list could mean that its crossover moment to “stuff white people like” may not be far away Could the durian become the yoga of fruits? The durian is “a divisive figure in the world of food ”, as my former colleague Monica Tan reported in 2014 Singapore has banned it on subways for its smell (potent even when the husk is intact) and airlines ban its consumption on planes Facebook Twitter Pinterest Brigid Delaney and her durian McFlurry Photograph: Brigid Delaney It even made international news last month when 500 students from a Melbourne library were evacuated after what they thought was a gas leak was actually a durian left to rot in a cupboard So it’s time to try it for myself I take the durian McFlurry with me in a taxi, to eat when I meet a friend Bad move Two things happen: the McFlurry starts to melt in the humidity, turning the dish into a milkshake or fruity soup Second, it smells And the smell travels and is absorbed into all surfaces including skin and clothes

It stinks like old socks that are carrying a pungent chunk of cheese.

I regret bringing it into the cab I have to start eating it in the taxi before the dish decomposes The first taste? It makes me wince as it’s on the unpleasant (or perhaps just unfamiliar) side Its flavours are confusing: sweet and sour, creamy and tart all at once Its aftertaste is like slightly rotten mince meat with a hint of lime

Mixed with the McFlurry, its impact is softened but the slivers of durian jam have the texture of softened toenail clippings and I can’t finish the now-liquified dessert.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest The McDonald’s durian McFlurry Photograph: McDonalds Malaysia Hours later, even though I’ve eaten dinner and had drinks, I can still smell the durian McFlurry Did I spill some of it on my top? My fingers smell of durian, like I was eating it with my hands rather than using the spoon Its vapour trail is long Even after showering the next day, I can still smell the durian on me Later that night, I meet a Malaysian student who is disgusted that I have tried my first durian from McDonald’s Vegan Magnum's launch a sign of an 'increasing problem for the dairy industry' Read more “It should be enjoyed whole, sitting at a table, with your family around you” “Why do you need to have your family around you to eat your durian?” “Because it’s the sort of thing you share You celebrate with durian” In short, it’s not the sort of thing you eat alone in the back of a taxi Will it become mainstream in Australia? I doubt it It’s too hardcore It’s an outlier As Australian supermarket fruit and vegetables somehow manage to taste more bland and flavourless with each passing year, the durian stands alone as an uber experience of flavour

We are not ready – nor are we worthy of its pungent powers.

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And as someone still in the public school system -- a high school sophomore -- I can tell you that it works.

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