Sure, the drink in this photo looks like a mild-mannered smoothie, but don't let its vanilla appearance fool you. This is a durian smoothie from Star Snow Ice (9889 Bellaire Blvd.), which is one of my favorite places for bubble tea. WARNING: This smoothie is not for the faint of heart.
The smoothie is made with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream and milk, which is all fun and games until the flesh of one seed from a durian is thrown into the mix.
If you don't know what durian is, Becky Means has a nice post about it here.
To expand on her description, the durian fruit is an acquired taste that takes courage and sheer willpower to acquire. To the durian virgin, the yellow, creamy flesh will taste like mushy rotten onions and will smell like trash. I know because I still distinctively remember losing my durian virginity.
Despite a horrible first impression, I found myself craving the stuff years later when traveling through Malaysia. I tried durian again and found that it still tasted like mushy rotten onions and smelled like trash; however, this time I tasted its sweetness, which is like very pungent custard. This smoothie is like garlic ice cream made with too much garlic, which would be great for those who love garlic but horrible for those who don't. There's the creamy sweet base but then the very distinct flavor and smell of the durian.
To convey the extent of the fruity fetor, after consuming this smoothie, I decided to run an errand and return some merchandise at a nearby hardware store. As the cashier was helping me, she exclaimed, "Oh my goodness, what is that smell?! Someone needs to empty out the trash bins in the front." She then proceeded to spray a can of aerosol air freshener around her as if applying spray-on sunscreen. After that, I kept my mouth closed and responded with only "mmm-hmm."
For those adventurous few who want to try durian for the first time, I suggest that you first try this smoothie before tackling the real fruit. It'll be like splashing in the kiddy pool before taking on the 1,000-meter butterfly.
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