Crazy Russian Hacker tries Durian - a very smelly fruit


The youtoob comments (I know, I know) several times touched on “eating it until drunk and red in the face”.
That made me curious, and I found stuff.

John Maninang and Hiroshi Gemma from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that durian extract inhibited aldehyde dehydrogenase activity by up to 70%.

“Asian flush syndrome” is common among Asians of Chinese, Japanese and Ko​​​rean descent.

Signs of Asian flush syndrome:
Facial blushing
​Rapid heartbeat

Due to genomic differences, most Asians have highly accelerated alcohol dehydrogenase, breaking down alcohol into acetaldehyde quickly.
Since alcohol is broken down faster it takes more drinking to get "right”.

But, also, most Asians have an inactive variant of the liver enzyme ALDH2. This means that the by-product acetaldehyde takes much longer to clear from their blood.

Acetaldehyde is more toxic than alcohol and a known cancer-causing agent.
It can trigger inflammation in the upper gastrointestinal tract, cause DNA damage, and increase one’s risk for gastrointestinal diseases, namely oesophageal and stomach cancers as well as peptic ulcers.

My slightly edumacated guess is, that depending on one’s genetic background one may or may not have serious health risks from mixing large amounts of durian with large quantities of alcohol.

Makes me wonder if our like or disgust for the fruit’s taste and smell in any way relates to the individually different levels of toxic effects it has on us.


I found durian to have a kind of chemical smell, especially compared with chou dofu. Now that smells really disgusting.


Several years ago for Valentine’s Day I made a special dinner for my girlfriend, with lychees and honey-drizzled grapefruit for dessert.

That was a good Valentine’s Day.


I had to try it out after I saw Anthony Bourdain eat one on TV (I also saw him eat pig’s anus, but even there I draw the line).

It was probably one of the most delicious fruits I’ve had – like butterscotch pudding, sweet, custardy, fruity – EXCEPT that it was infused with something similar to machine oil and that odor you smell when you drive by a pulp mill.

I choked down about 5 tablespoons then started gagging on the 6th. Then I burped up that flavor for an hour afterwards.

I might try it again.


Fresh jackfruit is starting to appear more regularly in mainstream grocery stores around me, both as a giant football and in more manageable slices, and I really enjoy it – its little ‘pods’ have a sweet tropical flavor that’s somewhere between pineapple and “tutti fruity” – someone described it to me as Juicy Fruit gum flavor, and that’s about right. And when it’s unripe, the green fruity seeds are flavorless and make a surprisingly good substitute for pulled pork.


I absolutely adore fresh jackfruit. Before a couple years ago, I’d only had canned. What a difference. I once described the aroma to a friend as ‘an orgy of mangoes, pineapple, and a few bananas’. Heavenly.

Haven’t tried the green jackfruit-as-pulled pork dish but lordy, have I heard about it.

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