In a small shop, two girls were sitting at a small table watching a soap opera and eating green mangoes. Sitting on the table between them was a bowl of beautiful gobs of stenchiful yellow durian. It didn’t look like we’d have much luck finding anything else to eat, so I entered the shop to ask if I could buy some of their durian.
The girls giggled when I asked about their durian, and offered me a piece. It was fantastic – rich, creamy, sweet, with a strong and pungent flavor. An intensely wonderful durian. A few minutes later, their dad arrived. He explained that this was a durian that had dropped from their own personal tree. They weren’t interested in selling their durian, but offered me a ride to where I could buy some.
I hopped on the blue scooter behind Pa, a shy girl with a sweet smile. We zoomed down the street, and pulled up shortly in front of a durian stall. I noticed that all of the durians at the stall had long stems, meaning they had been picked unripe. I’ve read this is a normal practice in Thailand, and that the Thais actually prefer slightly under-ripe durian, or “crunchy”. We’ll see if this is normal or not.
The old lady tapped on the durians with a stick, mumbling “tomorrow, tomorrow” under her breath. We established that none of the durians were ready, so I bought two of the pre-packaged clumps of mushy yellow fruit.
Pa dropped me off near our hotel, and I sat down to a lovely durian meal. While not quite as heavenly, wow-in-your-mouth as the family’s personal durian, it was the best durian I’ve had so far in Thailand. Durians begin losing their special flavor the moment they are opened and their aroma begins wafting away. So for these durian seeds to be this good, after sitting out in plastic for who-knows-how long, is a good sign for Thai durians!
I’m very excited about Chanthaburi durian!