Broward News

The Dangerous Durian: Stinky as It Wants to Be

South Florida abounds with tropical fruit, crazy, exotic fruit many American citizens have never seen (or smelled). You've no doubt encountered guava, carambola, dragonfruit and guanabana -- all yummy fruits, to be sure.

But a recent report from Southeast Asia generated some worry: what if weird, fruity goodness starts getting too exotic?

Ahmad Lai Bujang, a 61-year-old Malaysian parliament member, was taken to a hospital after he complained of breathlessness and dizziness from gorging himself on durian, a spiky green fruit resembling jackfruit (or a green hedgehog).

He was soon discharged from a Kuala Lumpur hospital, and told the London Telegraph:

"I ate too many durians that day. There were four different varieties and all were very tasty. The doctors warned me against it in the future, so I will stay away from the fruit for a month," he said.

That's the thing about durian: it's horribly stinky to the nose, but people love it. In fact, buses in Singapore have signs (right next to No Food, No Drink, No Loud Music) demanding No Durian. It's illegal to carry one into public buildings there, too.  But eating it can be as addictive as Cooper City's crack. We'll tell you where you can find it here after the jump.

Oriental Square, an Asian market at 2365 N. University Blvd. in Pompano is the only shop we could find that carries durian. It costs $2.39 a pound. Yes, it is smelly, but delicious, says the store: "If you like it, then you'll love it."

Just don't go crazy trying to eat too much.

The Juice put in a call to Robert is Here, South Florida's biggest and baddest fruit stand (where you can find Cherimoya, Sapodilla, and Mamey) but they said they won't be carrying durian: not now, not ever.

"The smell is unbearable," an employee explained. "It has a really bad smell that ruins everything in the store. It's not pleasant to have around."

What does it smell like?

"Like smelly feet," he said.

Actually, according to Wikipedia, the smell has been compared to stale vomit, surgical swabs, or rotten onions.

Author Anthony Burgess called it "like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory." Food writer Richard Sterling pronounced it thusly: "its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away."

When durian comes our way, look for a report on the Clean Plate Charlie blog -- or just call Broward General.