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Old May 8, 07, 11:19 am   #1
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Durian in London - best source? (Personal recs only please)

Firstly, I know where to buy some of the Durian in London.

It's available in Gerrard Street (China town)
Central/South Hackney (Vietnamese shops)
Colindale (Oriental City)

When I pass this monster fruit I tend to stop next to it and inhale deeply - I adore the smell. Last time I went to Chinatown with my husband I got him to park my wheelchair next to some (while he got the Jah Jah Sauce..mmm) just so I could savour the aroma.

I thought I'd finally try some in Thailand last year, but a business trip made that impossible.

I find I keep thinking about Durian and I'm ready to have my first taste. But I'm concerned I might get negatively imprinted with the taste of a bad one and get put off it unecessarily.

Are there any true Durian lovers out there who could give me some guidance?

Is it possible to get good quality Durian in London, or should I not bother and wait until I can get to somewhere where it grows/falls naturally? (could be a while)

If London does get fine Durian, any tips as to where to go, what to look for, best time of the year to try, what to avoid, etc...?

I'm supremely conscious of how awful fruit can be in England (I'd imagine I hated melon if I hadn't eated glorious ones in Spain, or that mangosteens were over-rated if I hadn't enjoyed some grown in a friend's garden, picked the day before and flown in from Sri Lanka... my mouth is still watering...)


I'm guessing the fact that I love the way Durian smell is a point in my favour, but any pointers from conoisseurs of this controversial fruit would be very much appreciated. I want my first time to be special (at the very least, not appalling).

Thanks!
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Old May 8, 07, 12:20 pm   #2
 
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To be honest I'd wait until you can go somewhere where it comes from.

But if you insist on eating it, do it in the Oriental city, they have a little Durian bar outside, let the guys pick it for you, they're pretty decent at it.

I hasten to add now that I'm not a fan of the fruit.

Also make sure that you eat Mangosteen after the durian, durian is considered a warming fruit, and the mangosteen takes care of that.

Alternatively, you could do what someone suggested when asked to describe the experience of eating a durian, and save a lot of money in the process: Take a bowl of custard, and eat it in a public toilet.
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Old May 8, 07, 12:30 pm   #3
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Alternatively, you could do what someone suggested when asked to describe the experience of eating a durian, and save a lot of money in the process: Take a bowl of custard, and eat it in a public toilet.
I'm pretty sure that was David Attenborough But everyone I've seen on TV describe their experience this way always mentions a sewer smell before they eat the fruit. I find the aroma to be enticing and delicious, not even a hint of WC (I'm hoping it's nature's way of balancing my shameful hatred for coriander/cilantro leaves).
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Old May 8, 07, 6:00 pm   #4
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Oh that's what the smell is in Chinatown food stores, I manage to buy stuff in there only if I have a cold .
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Old May 9, 07, 6:26 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
everyone I've seen on TV describe their experience this way always mentions a sewer smell before they eat the fruit.
oh trust me, the smell is there while you're eating the fruit too...

If you find that you like it, the guys selling it in the outside section of oriental city do an eat as much as you like deal too....
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Old May 9, 07, 6:43 am   #6
 
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But if you insist on eating it, do it in the Oriental city, they have a little Durian bar outside, let the guys pick it for you, they're pretty decent at it.

Definitely have to agree with aceman. If you can get there on Saturday or Sunday mornings they also grill some delicious Satay.


Make the most of it. Oriental City will be closing down in 7 to 8 months to make way for some flats, a gym and a B&Q.
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Old May 9, 07, 11:15 am   #7
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Make the most of it. Oriental City will be closing down in 7 to 8 months to make way for some flats, a gym and a B&Q.
Oh pooh!
That means they lost the petition
What happened to the Ken Livingston who came into office....?
(no point in glorifying a city's multicultural identity and then letting it starve)
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Old May 9, 07, 11:50 am   #8
 
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Make the most of it. Oriental City will be closing down in 7 to 8 months to make way for some flats, a gym and a B&Q.
I think the theory is that they will get their plots back etc, but these things strangely never seem to happen...
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Old May 9, 07, 6:42 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
no point in glorifying a city's multicultural identity and then letting it starve

Totally agree. I think it's a big loss to the area and London for that matter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aceman View Post
I think the theory is that they will get their plots back etc, but these things strangely never seem to happen...
Thats what I heard from some of the restaurants owners. Apparently in 3 years once the so called redevelopment is complete they are supposed to build a "mini food court". However as you rightly mention these things never seem to materialise.

Last edited by World Traveller; May 9, 07 at 6:47 pm.
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Old May 9, 07, 8:03 pm   #10
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Hey, if tearing down this place means less durian in London, they should start tearing today!

Note: My statement should not be taken as a reflection on cultural diversity, but a personal rec about durian.
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Old May 10, 07, 9:29 am   #11
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deleted - repeated post
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Old May 10, 07, 9:30 am   #12
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RichardinSF, you're awful!

Does make me wonder if the best way to campaign successfully against this kind of thing (and ensure that the small food court gets built) would be to threaten the developers with durian should they not comply. Wouldn't be too hard to have shopkeepers donate over ripe Durian to the cause and go waft it under the new appartments when potential buyers are looking over the place.

I am concerned though, it's only because of Oriental City's scale (I've been visiting ever since it was Yaohan Plaza) that I continue to brave Colindale (although I have to admit that I've not been for a while as the wheelchair makes it more difficult - the Northern Line is now a no-no). Even if the developers do keep their promise, the incentive to make the journey will have completely diminished - I go to get groceries, the food court has always been an 'extra'.


Finally - as the Durian stall seems the best option (if I am to try Durian within the next 5-6 years or so) does anyone know when the Durian that makes it to the UK is in season/at its best? I'm assuming that its provenance will be Thailand
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Old May 10, 07, 9:50 am   #13
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I'm assuming that its provenance will be Thailand
Malaysian durians have more "umph" than the Thai species.
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Old May 10, 07, 11:03 am   #14
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My durian experience comes almost entirely from the Philippines. There they have durian candy, durian ice cream, ..... think "Forrest Gump" with durian substituted for shrimp. I would say that Philippine durian has got to be the smelliest in the world even if I hadn't ever smelled any other.

Laplap, why not wait until you can get to southeast Asia to try the genuine article, fresh off whatever it comes off of?
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Old May 10, 07, 11:09 am   #15
 
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I personally love the stuff...I've had it in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand...where I can assume it was quite fresh. This seems like the kind of a fruit that one would NOT want to touch after anything that could compromise its freshness...like several thousand miles of travel.
To describe the experience...its rather intense....think onion+garlic+sugar+unknown flavour+a touch of rot (not unlike one might experience in some papayas). For me, this is somehow strangely pleasing...but then again I'll eat anything. Also, I would recommend not talking to anyone for about a week after eating it. You thought garlic breath was bad....

-W
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