It has come time for me to begin to describe a bit of the wonderful foods I've been enjoying here. I'll start with the most misunderstood fruit of all, durian. For those of you who have had any encounters with durian, you're probably shaking in your boots, terrified about what you'll read next. Have no fear! The king of fruits rules with a spiny, stinky skin but is sweet and soft on the inside. Perhaps I'm waxing a bit too much. For those who don't know of it, durian is a tropical fruit, that is quite large, roughly the size of a soccer ball, but the shape of a football. It has a very hard skin that is covered with thick, sharp thorns. This fruit is serious about not letting predators in. When ripe it has quite a pungent aroma often described as "rubbish", "raw sewage", "vomit". Appetizing, eh? My first encounter with durian was in the Asian markets in Vancouver. I had to hold my nose when walking by. But never one to stand down a food challenge, I sampled some durian gelato at La Casa Gelato in Vancouver (this by the way is my most favorite ice cream (ok, gelato) shop in the world thus far, almost 500 flavors, over 200 avaiable at any one time). Ok, back to the durian gelato, it had hardly any flavor and still the nasty smell. Not worth it to me, but the most popular item at La Casa Gelato, it's the only one they keep prepackaged in pint containers (and also the only one they keep covered in the case).
Fast forward almost two years. Here I am in Thailand and on the night my food fantasies were fulfilled (see the Jan 20th post) I tried some durian again. It wasn't worth writing about as it was not good, again. It was hard and flavorless. Another month goes by, the permaculture course has just ended and the members are having dinner in Kanchanaburi. Matthew shows up with a durian. He explains that this one is very ripe - you can see that, it's practically bursting at its seams. He cracks it open and the inside looks like custard, not the hard lumps I'd experienced before. And the taste, sweet and luscious it practically melts in your mouth. AAAAAHHHH, this is what it's all about. I've now learned enough Thai food vocabulary to buy myself one and that I did. Magnus and I feasted on one sitting along side a canal in Chaing Mai last night. I can't wait to share this culinary adventure with folks back home!