This is durian.
The name comes from the Malaysian word for thorn,
which, yeah, checks out.
The fruit is native to southeast Asia,
and Thailand grows more than half a million metric
tons of these weird looking things every year.
And as you might know, it has an odor. A strong one.
And we’re going to tell you why.
Despite its smell, many people really love the stuff.
In Southeast Asia, they call durian the “King of Fruits”.
Alfred Russel Wallace had this to say about durian:
“A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it,
but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese,
onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes.
There is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses,
but which adds to its delicacy.”
It may be a beloved treat in southeast Asia,
but that smell is strong, to say the least.
It’s so strong that some hotels,
subways and movie theaters ban it.
And we thought sulfurs were a problem.
So what does it actually smell like?
Well, we got some our friends at PBS to give it a whiff on what we’re thinking on.
I was guessing hot garbage and I’m met with hot garbage here.
So, I remember it smelling worse.
I’ve been in markets in Asia where they’ve had it and
It actually doesn’t smell as bad as what I thought it did.
It’s kind of fine.
That… It smells like…Umm
It smells like food garbage that’s been sitting for a couple of days.
Yeah, it’s… You know
I thought I’d hate it more, actually.
So why does it smell so… pungent?
Chemists have identified about 45 different molecules
that make up durian’s odor.
They cover an impressive variety of smells:
honey, roasted onion, caramel, skunk, broken egg, to name a few.
如蜂蜜 烤洋葱 焦糖 臭鼬 臭鸡蛋等
Incredibly, a recent study narrowed those down to just two molecules
the researchers say can mimic the fruit’s overall smell.
A whole bunch of compounds on that list have sulfur atoms in them,
some of which can smell pretty bad.
You know that special stink of rotten eggs?
Yep. That’s Hydrogen Sulfide.
Humans are insanely good at smelling sulfur-containing molecules.
Your nose is one hundred million times more sensitive to ethanethiol than ethanol.
And there’s probably a good evolutionary reason for that too.
Rotten food, dead animals, poisonous gases and
腐烂的食物 死去的动物 有毒气体
even the sweat of some carnivorous predators
all have sulfur-containing compounds,
so it makes sense natural selection made us especially sensitive to them.
Our noses are so good at sniffing out sulfur
thanks to what happens between sulfur compounds
and copper ions in our smell receptors.
When scientists blocked copper from the noses of lab mice,
they couldn’t tell the difference between the gross smelling (methylthio)methanethiol
from the more pleasant eugenol, which shows up in cinnamon and basil.
Sulfur helps to explain why durian smells so bad to some people.
But why do people put up with this smell?
Sometimes we can forgive a little stinkiness
if the food tastes really, really good.
So how does it taste?
The fruity stuff reminds me a little bit of maybe
kiwi fruit or something like that.
It’s like a mushy pear or something like that.
If you took an apple
and you dipped it in a landfill,
that’s… and then covered it in yogurt.
That is durian.
Frankly, I don’t hate it.
I’m going to have some more.
Can’t stop, won’t stop.
You know, it could be an acquired taste.
I hated coffee and chocolate for a really long time.
I don’t think it deserves a bad rap.
like it’s… It’s fine.
I mean it’s just a fruit, why are we picking on fruit?
我是说 它只是水果而已 我们为什么要这么挑剔？
Alright, alright. We hear you.
好吧 好吧 知道了
But to switch it up,
we asked professional chef Parnass Savang,
who cooks with durian and was raised eating it,
what he thought it tastes like.
It’s hard to describe because
it tastes sweet, it tastes custardy,
and it has like a funkiness that
like a fermentation tap funkiness that other fruits don’t have
and it just distinguishes from other fruits and
that one just sings to me so much
So durian is clearly an acquired taste.
But why could some people get over that funkiness while others just couldn’t?
Not everyone smells or tastes things the same way.
Our DNA has code for roughly 800 odor receptors,
though scientists think only about 400 of those actually function.
Genetic variations in these receptors can change the way they function
and alter your perception of an odor,
so you might not smell durian the same way Joe did.
And then there are people who can’t smell it at all.
Seriously, maybe that sounds great at first.
But most of what we call flavor isn’t really taste, it’s smell.
Joe just might be missing out on the true complexity of this exotic delicacy.
Plus, the way we react to smells is determined in part by our experiences.
Odors can stir up memories and emotions in people.
So if you grew up eating durian, it
might trigger fondness rather than revulsion.
Some cheeses stink to the high heavens
but people so love them some stinking cheese.
Or maybe we here in America just aren’t getting good durian.
There are echelons of durian.
There’s some durians that are highly prized where
the seeds are small, the meat is large.
And there’s some that are like good for transporting
those aren’t always good.
Parnass told us that he thinks durian gets a bad rap in
United States, because, well, we’re just not getting very high quality durian
And that, my friends, is the science of a very odorous fruit.
Have you ever had durian?
What’s your verdict on the “king of fruits”?
Let us know in the comments.
I personally think it tastes like an avocado and a mango
had a baby, and then fed that baby nothing but garlic.
Ends and words of Joey Tribbiani “I like it!”
Be sure to hit the thumbs up and subscribe
before you head out to find one of these beauties for yourself.
Thanks for watching.