A few times a year, I become really “ethnic”.  That is to say, for a variety of reasons, I get into a phase where I really – and I mean really – embrace my Chinese heritage and my cultural upbringing.  Granted, I’m fairly selective in how I embrace my heritage.  Last September, I wrote a blog post that showed that I’m clearly not totally cool with my country of origin, and fuck hell, did I ever get a haterade bath for that post.

But this isn’t about Malaysia.  This is about being a Chinese person who grew up in Malaysia.  It’s is an entirely – and uniquely – different experience from any other Chinese person growing up anywhere else in the world.  Which is to say that it’s no different from an Irish person growing up in Boston having an entirely different upbringing from someone growing up in Dublin.

So anyway, about my occasional cultural embrace.  The only time I can seen reliably “throwing the switch” is during the Chinese New Year.  This is my Thanksgiving, Christmas, and St. Patrick’s Day celebration all rolled into some stir-fried holiday that goes on for 15 days.  Sure, there are many holiday customs I’ll go through each year, but the one thing I always do also – which has absolutely fuck-all to do with the Chinese New Year – is buy the biggest durian and can find and fucking go to town on it.

Whatwhatwhat?

The durian.  It’s a fruit.  Proudly labeled the “King Of The Fruits”, which is a fucking stupid label.  Because, really – what the fuck does that even really mean….

In any case, here’s the durian I bought last week.

Durian 1

Except, the durian is more than a fruit.  It’s a conundrum encased in a paradoxical shell of sensory fuck-you-upness.  The durian has been, is, and always will be more than just another fruit.

I mean, look at it.  IT’S COVERED IN HORRIFYING, DEADLY SPIKES.  It’s so deadly it needs to be restrained in a net.  It’s Charlton Heston in Planet Of The Apes.  Like the lobster, who was the fuckwit who first looked at the durian and thought, “I’ve got to eat that”?  You’ve got to be mental to think that that’s something you should eat.  It grows in the tropical rainforest climate, and it doesn’t grow close the ground like a pineapple does – oh no, this fucking thing hangs from high up in the tree and, and like most other fruit, bombs to the ground when ripe.  Imagine that shit in free fall right into your goddamn head.  This is Mother Nature’s quintessential Fuck You Fruit.

Durian 2So when you get a fruit that’s covered in lethal spikes, and you’ve just got to get to the core of its forbidden treasure within, you don’t just ask politely.  That outer layer doesn’t just peel back nicely for you.  Fuck that, you know what you do – you fucking take a cleaver to the thing.  That’s right, a goddamn cleaver.  I’m not just doing this for dramatic effect, mind you.  Growing up, this is the only way I’ve ever seen anyone open up a durian – with a couple of a precise hacks of the cleaver.  This fruit requires boldness.

Once you make gash at the bottom of the fruit, you stick your fingers in there and rip that sumbitch open.  That’s right, nothing’s subtle about the durian.  It makes you fucking work for what’s inside.

And when you open it up…

Durian 3You’re greeted with yellow lumps of soft, delicate “pillows”.  There’s no other way to describe the edible insides.  Inside each of these lumps is a small chestnut-sized seed.  That yellow goodness is what you eat.

And since taste comes largely from your olfactory senses, I haven’t even gotten to one of the most ridiculous things about the durian.

The smell.

If there is something on this earth that is more polarizing than the smell of a durian, I haven’t encountered it.  Anything you can think of that’s polarizing – the U.S. president, EDM, assault weapons, Anne Hathaway, you name it – forget it, they’re all child’s play compared to the sort of reactions the durian elicits.  No one in the history of time has ever tried a durian and said, “meh.”  No, it’s usually squarely between “That is so sweet and heavenly I think I just saw cherubs descend from skies to paint the earth with rainbows” (the durian does not have hallucinogenic qualities as far as I know) and “Holy motherfuck, what the FUCK is that, it’s like Satan’s wet farts.”  No one’s ever reacted that way to Anne Hathaway.

I wish there was a scientific explanation for this – and maybe there is, and I just can’t be arsed to look for it.  I am firmly in the camp of those who think that there is nothing sweeter in the world than durian.  Nothing.  Not truffles, not my kids, not Kate Upton, nothing.  For me, the durian transcends earthly explanation.  It boggles my mind that something that tastes and smells so mind-blowingly amazing can exist without ripping a massive black hole in the universe.

Then there are those who think that the durian is proof that the devil exists because it is his festering hemorrhoid littered on this earth.  Those people would be wrong, and those people are stupid.

And here, I’ve saved the very best bit for last.  If you can wrap your head around this fucked up fruit at this point, then you’ll love this part – you can’t have alcohol when you eat durian “because you’ll die”.  This fucking thing will KILL YOU.  Shit, even the infamous fugu sushi doesn’t have any booze restrictions on it.  Not so with the durian.  At least that’s the unwritten rule that EVERYONE abides by when they eat durian.  You just don’t fuck around with that rule when you’re eating durian.  You’ve gotta make sure there’s no alcohol in your system before or after you eat it.  Eat it right, or you die!  Truth is, no one really knows if there’s any shred of truth to this, but to date, I don’t know anyone who’s been willing to put this to the test.  I’ve done a lot of stupid things, but I ain’t doin’ that.  Because that’d be a pretty fucking stupid way to die.  “The idiot knew he wasn’t supposed to booze it up with the durian, but he did, and now he’s fucking dead.”  That’d make for a horrible epitaph.

Durian = no booze, you guys.

Some of you are gonna read this and think, why the fuck is this dipshit writing about some goddamn fruit that sounds like a cancerous sphincter?  Because those of you who haven’t tried durian are gonna lack the balls to try something that could – as track records go – turn out to be the most glorious thing you’ve ever tasted.  But no, you’re gonna puss out.  And that’s going to be fucking shame.

Grow a pair, eat a durian.