Monday, March 10, 2008

Bizarre Foods

I’ve always enjoyed trying new and strange food items. Last night, I certainly got to fulfill that little proclivity of mine.

Six of us went to Lao Sze Chuan for dinner. Three of my dinner companions had lived in various parts of Asia for a number of years, so everyone was on board with trying the jellyfish as an appetizer. (See pic below. The jellyfish is on the left).

It was "interesting" but I don't know that I'd order it again.

During dinner, we also discussed the notorious fruit called "durian" that’s common in Indonesia and Thailand. I had heard about this strange food item but had never tried it. Three of my dinner companions had actually tried it while living in the far East.

If you don’t know about durian fruit, here’s the deal. It’s a large, green, spiky thing with a creamy inside. What makes durian so notorious is the smell. It has absolutely THE worst smell you can imagine. However, it does have a sweet, rich and appealing taste.

There are hotels in Thailand that won’t allow guests to bring durian into the rooms. The smell gets into the air conditioner system and is very difficult to get rid of. You can’t even bring it into the subway system in Bangkok. I've heard that it'll even set off the smoke alarms on airlines.

If you’ve ever seen the TV series called “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern, you may have seen him try durian fruit. On that episode, he was served a beating heart from a frog and ate it, no problem. He was also served snake bile in a shot glass. Again, no problem. But one bite of durian, and he instantly spit it out. It was the one food item that “did him in.”

I was fascinated that three of my friends had actually tried it.

Anyway, after dinner we headed to a nearby Asian place that has smoothies made from just about every tropical fruit you can imagine.

My friend, Ken, who is fluent in Mandarin, asked if they had durian fruit smoothies.

They did!

Ken and Steve both ordered a durian-coconut smoothie. Of course, I had to try it.

Steve said to give the plastic cup a squeeze so that I could get a whiff of the stuff.

OH. . . MY. . . . . .GOD!!!!

It definitely lived up to its reputation. I was hit with a strong smell that instantly reminded me of very fresh cat-poo. It was also reminiscent of rotten onions combined with the odor of a sour, dirty-diaper pail.

Of course, I took a swig and it definitely had a sweet, creamy rich taste on my tongue. However, that putrid smell wafted from my tongue into my olfactory nerves. It was just so horribly unbelievable that I got the giggles. Here’s a pic:

Later, we were in the car and Steve was still drinking his durian smoothie. The entire car was permeated with the smell. It was hilarious.

I swear, this morning, I could still sense that funk in my sinuses.

Jellyfish for an appetizer and a durian fruit smoothie for dessert. Is this an amazing town, or what?

So, if any of you are ever with me when we go to Lao Sze Schuan, there’ll definitely be durian smoothies for dessert.

If anything, the entertainment value, alone, is off the chart.

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At 2:30 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

I'm in.

At 3:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm out.

Not so much because of the smell, but because I really don't think fruit is meant to have creamy insides.


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