Durian, the (demon) king of fruits. Photo by YIM Hafiz.
Durian is a strange fruit. It smells like feet, looks like alien fetus and has the texture of a rotten mango. What’s even more strange is that it tastes kinda good, some would say delicious. Now that it’s durian season, the strange smell pervades Havelock Road, but I haven’t had the courage to buy one. If you bring the fruit home, it stinks up the whole house and probably the neighbors too. Instead, I’ve tried two out of home options. One is the durian juice at Bombay Sweet Mahal (Wellawatte). The other is the durian ice cream at Carnival (Bambalapitiya), both on the Galle Road.
I had the durian juice today. My burps are still offensive to god and man but it wasn’t so bad going down. The texture remains something between snot and glue and the smell is there, but the interesting sweet and sour flavor of durian remains. It’s basically OK. Durian itself can be a bit intimidating, the texture is not natural to chew on and neither is the smell. Here there’s at least a straw to mediate between you and the fruit.
It costs Rs. 230 (compared to Rs. 100 for an avocado juice). This is at Bombay Sweet Mahal, the first such joint after the Wellawatte junction on the Galle Road (just before Manning Street).
Durian Ice Cream
I think this is pretty much bad. Carnival Ice Cream is cheap and the ambiance is great, but it’s not especially good ice cream. The durian is no exception, except here the fruit cannot carry the ice cream by itself. Mediocre strawberry ice cream is still strawberry ice cream, but mediocre durian ice cream is just bad. I would recommend trying it, and then buying something else. Again, if you have a full scoop the smell will linger on your breath for hours.
Carnival Ice Cream is on Galle Road in Bambalapitiya, just before the Kollupitiya junction (the turn to Liberty Plaza).
I haven’t tried it this season. Tell me if you have. I just can’t bring myself to bring the thing home.