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My facebook feed is full of durian. But lately, my belly is not. So when vegan chef Johnny Freesh's Durian Coconut Fudge popped up, I started drooling. It looked absolutely divine, but I'm a picky eater with multiple food sensitivities and the nuts didn't work for me. So I turned to friends for help designing a nut-free, vegan durian fudge. The result: raw-mazing.
There are fruit eaters, fruit lovers, fruit obsessives, and then there are fruitarians. My friend Mango is an ethical fruitarian - that means he eats no seeds, roots, shoots, or leaves in an effort to avoid causing suffering to other living organisms. He's got a new book out talking about the ethics of eating fruit. No surprise - he loves durian.
There are some things in life you'd think would be easy to find. The grocery store aisle with the coconut water on it, for example (is it on the health aisle, juice aisle or the refrigerated section? I think they move it around) Figuring out exactly how many durian varieties there are in Thailand was one of the more difficult things I've done. This surprised me, since in every other aspect of durian Thailand is light years ahead of other countries in research, development, and organization. At long last, here it is: the 234 distinct varieties of Thai durian to put on your durian hunting check list. Even I haven't tasted them all! Definitely something to look forward to the next time I go to Thailand.
I'm the first to admit that a taste of good durian - the luscious, rich butter-smooth-chocolate kind - is excuse enough to cross continents. Sometimes though, the travel itself is just as much what we're craving as the durian. There's a certain draw to the hidden corners of the world not yet bombarded by tourism, quiet places where life goes on in ways we can't quite imagine. We want to feel like we've really been somewhere different or had a unique experience that can't be packaged and sold by a tourism agency. Luckily, most tourists aren't on the hunt for durian. Here are some pretty out of the way spots worth putting on your travel itinerary in 2014. If you like durian, that is.