Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Bite of the Bizarre

Magnet #220:  Malaysian Durian

Material:  Resin

Purchased By:  Marissa

In just one week, The Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern returns for its fifth season (yep, you know I'm pretty booked up for the rest of the month to post this early). I must admit, I've missed seeing Zimmern eat all of his crazy foods and am looking forward to finding out what's on his plate. This year, it looks as though the Travel Channel may try a new trick with the show- telling us what Zimmern is eating, but not where he is going. For the season premiere, he'll be in a Buddhist country eating silkworms and dancing shrimp.  Any guesses?

I don't always post twice for a television show or host on my blog, but in this case, I decided to make an exception. Thanks to a trade, I received this very cool magnet of the durian fruit from Malaysia. It looks pretty attractive here, but don't be fooled. Durian is just about the most notorious fruit on the planet and it's emerged as Zimmern's food nemesis. When he first tried it fresh off the tree in Asia, he gagged and said it tasted like "completely rotten, mushy onions." He later tried it in New York City, only to be beaten again. There are those that enjoy durian, but it seems many more loathe the fruit. The odor is so horrible that it has been banned from public places such as hotels, restaurants, and airplanes in parts of Asia. It has been likened to the scent of skunk spray, vomit, dirty gym socks, and sewage. Clearly, the odor has an unfavorable effect on the taste to many who try it and, like Zimmern, are unable to choke it down. In fact, from what I understand, the odor is actually worse than the taste. But the fruit does have its fans, like Zimmern's Travel Channel colleague Anthony Bourdain, who acknowledges that the taste is such that you will either love it or hate it and that the scent will leave your breath smelling like that of a corpse. And it is known as the "King of Fruits" both for its odor and its very threatening, thorny cover. Some claim that durian is better frozen, and its taste can be used in a variety of foods such as candy, smoothies, cappuccinos, and even Yule logs. I have never been in the presence of a durian, but I'm pretty certain if I had the opportunity to give it a taste, I'd pass. I'm inclined to try new foods, but I do have to draw the line sometimes.

Well, I'm not sure if the durian is on the menu again for this season, but I have no doubt that Zimmern should be able to try some equally challenging foods. He's always fun to watch and I'm excited about the season premiere. And, in other news, the Travel Channel's show Dhani Tackles the Globe returns tonight. While the host seems pretty likeable, I'm not really a fan of this program. As I've noted on here, I am not a big sports enthusiast and as the premise of this show is that he tries out often obscure sports around the world, I haven't been able to get into it. I really wish it were on one of the seemingly endless ESPN channels, where it would much more easily appeal to viewers, and something more interesting to the Travel Channel crowd aired in its place. But I guess no network is perfect. And with all sorts of shows to choose from, I will definitely be watching plenty more on the network, especially considering new Andrew Zimmern adventures will be airing soon. Just remember, as Zimmern would say - "If it looks good, eat it!"

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