A Smell So Powerful

1 May

….that it can close a university


There are many things to love about Bangkok and Thailand.  The people are friendly.  The sights and sounds are fascinating.  The Spirit Houses offer endless appeal, at least to me.  And, of course, the food is awesome, all except durian, which is horrible.  Durian, the Thai national fruit, smells like garbage when it’s fresh and tastes, in my opinion, even worse.  I have written about my dislike of durian in June 2016 and November 2017.  It was in this November entry that I mentioned that there might be a durian flavoured Kit-Kat bar coming to Thailand.  That would be horrendous.

I cannot emphasize enough as to how much I dislike durian, even as Thais and Malaysians claim this fruit is the tastiest ever and have proclaimed it their national fruit.  Everyone makes mistakes.  

But apparently, I am not the only one with a concern about the characteristics of durian.  Just the other day, Annabel sent me an April 29th article from the Toronto Star about a university in Australia that was evacuated because of what was thought to be a gas leak.  The ‘leak’ turned out to be some rotting durian, which smelled so bad that authorities believed there was a gas leak that could explode.  If fresh durian smells like sewage, then I cannot imagine what rotting durian smells like.  We are talking catastrophic – enough to close a university.

It turned out that this story was a big one that got coverage in a lot of international media sites including, for example, this article on the BBC site.

Just in case you have any interest in the why’s of durian’s disgusting smell, the Smithsonian has an explanation, although their description of the smell being “akin to turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock” is incorrect in my view.  I would describe the smell of durian as sweaty gym socks garnished with raw sewage.  Rotting durian would obviously smell much worse.

Durian is a beloved fruit here in Bangkok.  Fortunately for me, my colleagues have stopped trying to get me to eat it.  Maybe they have a little less respect for me, or like me a little less because of my refusal to eat durian.  But that’s okay, you can’t please everyone all of the time.

6 thoughts on “A Smell So Powerful

      • Yes, it is durian, which is the worst, in my opinion. On the other hand, jack fruit tastes great and is not so smelly. Glad you could find this blog. All the best.

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