The Unvegan

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Strange Fruits: Durian and Mangosteen

The King of Fruit.

In a world full of apples, pears, bananas and peaches, it’s comforting to know that out in the crazy world of ours, there are still strange fruits waiting to be eaten. I’m sure it seems weird to be reading an article on an unvegan website about fruit, but I must confess I am a huge fan of fruit. After all, this is a site against vegetables, not fruit. Who could really hate nature’s candy? While in China I came across two fruits that break the mold of those average, everyday fruits: the Durian and Mangosteen. They are also known as the King and Queen of fruits, respectively.

Just be glad you can’t smell this.

The first two things you notice about the durian are the size and the spikes. This is no small fruit to be trifled with and requires more than bare hands to crack open. It’s obviously a fruit that doesn’t want to be eaten, and maybe with good reason. Because although the size and spikes are the first things you notice before it’s opened, the first thing you notice after is the smell. Or rather odor. This king smells rotten, but it isn’t. It’s not easy to get over the smell, but eventually the durian has to be eaten. The flesh has the consistency of custard and almost actually tastes like custard. Or like a custard that’s been sitting out on the counter for weeks. Until the durian I’d never met a fruit I didn’t like, but the king of fruits ended my streak. Perhaps I had just eaten the durian on an off day, or more likely an off season, but this was one king of fruits not fit for a layman like me.

Bow to your queen.

Then there’s the mangosteen, or more accurately known as the purple mangosteen. Despite the name, the fruit has nothing to do with mangoes and really isn’t related. The look is unlike any other fruit and if you squint closely, the stem almost looks like a crown upon the head of that rotund queen of fruits. Similar to the durian, the mangosteen isn’t an easy fruit to open without hands, but it can be done. A deep dig of the thumb and the thick purple skin eventually gives way to some white wedges that almost look like albino tangerine wedges.

A deep dig of the thumb reveals one crazy fruit.

But the taste is nothing at all like a tangerine or any other citrus. In fact it’s hard to put a finger on what the taste actually is. The closest thing I can come up with is that it tastes kind of like sugar cane, but with a twist. It’s sweet and sugary and definitely fruity, but just so different from any fruit I’ve had before, in a good way. The texture of each wedge is actually citrus-like as well, but again, that is where the similarities end, as the taste is just so unique.

Both the durian and mangosteen are fruits worth trying if you find yourself in an Asian country that has them. Although the durian wasn’t for me, it could be the kind of fruit someone could like. The mangosteen, on the other hand, is a great one and it makes me a little sad that it can’t be found outside of Asia.