Don't bring Durian to Oz

“Durian, oh Durian, the “King of Fruit”. You smell like Hell, but taste like Heaven”.
So goes the song. But don’t bring Durian to Oz, cause there they can’t distinguish the smell from that of a gas leak:

I never got the heaven part and I tried it a few times. I have often thought the smell of Durian was a defensive mechanism to keep away predators and it worked well against this potential predator. I have a natural aversion to any food that smells like it has already been eaten once before.


I know it is an acquired taste but I actually got to like Durian, even the smell of it (ala the fruit is fresh)

The best Durian Stalls in Singapore:

My favourite Durian stall is this one at Chinatown Market:

I get that but there also that rakfisk which is even less appealing than durian.My God there is no reason since the invention of refrigeration to preserve food in that manner. If the local folk want to eat it fine. I suppose it reminds them of times past when there was no other proper food available. I feel the same way about Louisiana crayfish, mudbugs. One has to wonder who ever ate the first one out of the muddy water. Without a lot of seasoning they have no taste, but it seems to be part of the culture and I’ll admit I have eaten my share. The other things they threw in the pot made it worthwhile. Whenever someone tells me Louisiana cooks are great I laugh. All they do is find some marine creature, throw it in a pot of boiling water along with a lot of spices and say, Bon appetit. :grinning:


Well, there is the other option of deep frying…its gonna be one or the other certainly.


Funny thing is I fished with these mud bug eaters who prided themselves on sucking the guts out of mud bugs but were not too keen on eating fresh fish with the heads on. I suppose it is a cultural thing. Nothing wrong with deep fried fish, not all are suitable for sushi or sashimi.

Rakfisk (Fermented Brown Trout):

It is a traditional food in the valley in East Norway that has become popular in other parts of Norway only lately and only around Christmas time.
It is served in small portions as a starter, with a lot of additions and condiments:

Yes there are no need to treat perfectly good fish like this anymore, nor is there a need for many of the other old preservation methods, (like drying, smoking or pickling etc.) which is still done in many places, even in the US.

PS> Have you tried the Swedish specialty, Surstrømming??:

It is recommended to open the tin in a bucket of water to let the first whiff dissipate,:

Before serving it with some good Swedish Beer and Aquavit (If such things exists):

If you haven’t tried Surstrømming, or maybe tried it on a bad day, just try again,
It is not very different than rakfisk. Only sometimes stronger in taste.

PS> Notice that there are two aquavit glasses on the table; a tasting glass for Norwegian brown Christmas Aquavit, and a traditional one for “ice-cold” Danish Red Aalborg .Aquavit.

PS> This table was set by a Norwegian, for Norwegian guests.
There are also traditional Norwegian Spiced Herring for any children, or those who cannot handle the Swedish specialty.
That is not fermented but preserved by salt, sugar and a variety of spices:


I’ll stick to haggis and blood pudding, even so.

There are some French cheeses that stink really bad.

French perfume is very strong

It needs to be.

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The French dont waste water washing…

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The Norwegian Gammelost used to have a strong and distinct smell and taste:

The one found at some Supermarkets today has mellowed, both in smell and taste.
It is like Lutefisk and Rakfisk, some love it and others cannot stand it.
Personally I eat all of them, but Lutefisk and Rakfisk only in Christmas.

Gammelost teste very good on Flatbrød:

with a dash of good Majones:

Others use different “toppings”:

With dairy butter, sour cream and lingonberries, the old cheese tastes extra good on salt biscuits or slices of flat bread!

Of course it can also be used on Pizza:

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That was a rude awakening in my early career. I was in France and met with a very nice gentleman who was heir to one of the biggest manufacturers in the country. He had impeccable manners, highly styled bespoke suit but his odor was something else. I mentioned this to my career advisor who replied, “You must get used to different cultures.” Fair fine and dandy but the guy make over a million francs a year, has on a $4000 dollar suit but smells like a locker room. Geez.

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I asked an Aussie; “What is actually the difference between an Aussie and a Pommy”
His answer; “I’ll tell you the difference, WE WASH”


Well, last I rode the San Francisco subway I wonder how many French people were there, it stunk so bad.

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Ah yes, my old nemesis. Words can hardly describe how vile this stuff is. Japanese food scientists famously rated it the smelliest food in the world, a solid cut above kæstur hàkarl, the Icelandic delicacy prepared by burying a shark on the beach, and miles beyond any durian. It exists in the shadow realm between fart spray and proper malodorants, far too revolting to ever be funny, but not quite persistent enough to have real military value.

I not only tasted the stuff, but had a proper dinner of it. I was kayaking across sweden, and had just finished a hard day that ended with a grueling 10+km portage up to the watershed. With my tent pitched by lake Toften, I was getting my beans and corned beef out when a jolly swede passed by and asked if I wouldn’t rather dine with his family. Of course I did, so I packed away my gas stove and strolled unknowingly off to have my horizons expanded.

When the guy introduced me and announced that we would be having surströmming, the kids literally screamed and ran away. Then, when time came to crack the tins, the dog whimpered and followed the kids over to the neighbors. Chew on that for a second: dogs will eat badly decomposed cadavers and all manner of literal shit, but this stuff smells bad enough to scare them off. I won’t try too hard to describe the smell, because it’s truly beyond words, but I can confidently say that it’s the worst thing I ever smelled. I’ve been some places and seen some shit I’d rather forget, but surströmming is on a whole new level.

Normally that smell would have been the end of it, but with the kind of calory deficit you get from that day’s and the preceeding week’s activities, a guy’s got to eat. Thus it came to be that I put away a couple of tins of the stuff, to my hosts’ slack jawed amazement. It doesn’t taste as bad as it smells, and once you get to eating, your senses are well and truly wrecked by the stench, to the point that nothing else matters. Still, at the end of the meal I felt little but shame at the filthy thing I’d just done to myself. This experience, while decidedly traumatic, taught me some valuable lessons:

If a Swede offers you food, the prudent move is to ask politely what’s for dinner, before accepting. Also, if anyone ever tells you this

…you should carefully consider his motives, and take his assertion with a larger grain of salt than that which was used on the fish.

P.S: If you like watching Americans scream and puke, “surströmming” isn’t a bad youtube search.