Does Durian Taste As Bad As It Smells?

Durian is an odd, spiky-looking fruit that is infamous for being one of the worst-smelling foods on the planet, with an odor compared to "sweaty socks sitting in sewer water near a fishery." Its insane stinkiness has earned it a place of dishonor in Sweden's Disgusting Foods Museum, and in May 2019 durian precipitated a panicky evacuation of an Australian university library when its stench was mistaken for a gas leak (via CBS News). Durian is actually prohibited from being carried onto buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation in Singapore, where it's also banned from many public areas.

So what does it taste like, and can the flavor really be as bad as the smell seems to indicate? While nearly everyone can agree that durian's smell is way beyond unpleasant, opinions differ as to its flavor. Some think that durian also tastes terrible, comparing it to "the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction," but the majority of others are actually quite taken by its unique flavor, calling it "indescribable" and likening it to "sweet almondine onion-sherry chocolate mousse with hints of garlic and farts." (That's a good thing, in case you were wondering.) As for the texture, that can be described as thick, creamy, and like pudding in a waxy skin.

Still not sold? Perhaps its the kind of taste you just grow up knowing and loving, at least if you're from Southeast Asia where durian is described as "hell on the outside and heaven on the inside." Durian is actually quite a popular pizza topping in China, where it was added to Pizza Hut's menu in 2016. McDonald's Singapore introduced a durian McFlurry, and there's also a durian-flavored Hi-Chew (an Asian candy similar to Starburst), which one reviewer compared to "eating ice cream that had been stored in a smelly freezer."

So as to whether durian really tastes as bad as it smells, it seems to depend on your taste buds. Looks like you'll just have to try it for yourself... if you dare.