Durian in Davao - Philippines
People readily know if the presence of durian is just around somewhere. We can never hide the fruit if we want to get it past secretly even through a slipshod inspection. Durian easily catches attention, through its smell.
Other people find it sweet-smelling but most people find its smell too intense and unpleasant. But most will agree the savory flavor the durian meat has which is kept intact inside its formidable shell. Durian, outwardly, has a spiked hard shell reinforced with a mantle of husks, as if natures way of keeping the controversial smell in.
Opening the durian shell and all through the husk layer we find edible yellowish flesh masses orderly compartmentalized into two chambers that divide the durian shell into half. Most people find eating the fruit raw straight from its shell the best thing on the planet. Some prefer it processed.
The durian flesh texture is like melted cheddar cheese, only a bit firmer. At times its like jelly or marmalade, minus the wateriness, and then made into a creamy stufflike the filling of cream puff. The smell? Raw durian smells like aged wine, only more pungent. Sometimes its smells like some kind of a mouthwash, only sweeter.
And thus, the mystery of the durian fruit. In Davao, southern part of the Phlippines, they call it the food of gods and goddesses and nymphs. Davao has lots of durian plantations, although the fruit really originated from Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Durian belongs to the family of cotton, okra, mallows, hibiscus, and lindenscientifically called Malvaceae.
But theres an alternative to eating durian raw. Many from Mindanao and the Visayas process the fruit by cooking it with milk and letting it cool down to harden until it gains the consistency of a bar soap. It is then sliced into pieces, wrapped in colorful thin Japanese paper, and then sold as candy.
Durian candy has been a popular native delicacy in Davao and the Visayas. In fact, some people think its even more popular in Luzon, particularly in Bulacan and Metro Manila. The smell? Awesome, like sweet wine, minus the pungent quality. The taste? Some people say its more delicious than the raw fruit. Durian candy can be taken anywhere without the smelly embarrassment that the raw fruit brings.
Surly looking young women but really kind-hearted deep inside are likened at times to Durian. Beneath the hard, thorny shell of the fruit lies a precious treasure. It takes a man of understanding and subtle tastes to bring out its full potential.