My lovely durian: The reveal

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In my euphoria over acquiring a whole 7.4-pound durian over the weekend, I publicly announced my love for the stinky fruit and offered a taste to fellow durian fans. There weren’t many takers.

“In Hong Kong, we’re legally allowed to chop off the hands of people carrying durian — j/k,” @rickyli99 tweeted.

“You should smell @NonStopMari, she’s been eating it fresh lately,” tweeted @Melissa808.

“Eww, I’m not standing by you!” from @harrycovair.

On this site, Erica and bettydalycity posted comments about co-workers who brought durian to work and inadvertently triggered evacuations. Wrote betty, “Customers started to say smells like a gas leak around here and left fast.”

And I thought saimin abuse was bad. In my new depths of unpopularity, people I approach with my prized durian make stinky face and recoil. If I hear any more jokes involving the word ‘upwind,’ I swear I’ll show up and smear you with the divine stink.

All of which makes me appreciate fellow durian lovers like @c_chan808 all the more. c_chan sent a link to a site that carefully instructed how to tell when a durian is perfectly ready to eat. So I’m passing on that durian love with this, my own illustrated guide to opening a durian.

Caution: Use old dish towels to pick up the fruit. The spikes can cut your hands, and you’ll need a good grip when you’re cutting.

Inhale the aroma. It should be rich, fruity and overpowering — nothing less. If the smell makes someone gag, that’s a good clue.

Listen. Pick up the durian and shake it (carefully! I stabbed myself in the cheek). If you hear rattling, the fruit’s not ripe enough. If you hear nothing, it’s overripe. If you hear very faint, muted thuds, your durian is primo.

Look for the star. Each durian is divided into five sections whose faint brown outlines you can see radiating out from the base of the fruit. Get a big, sharp chef’s knife and cut an inch into and along these lines.

Scoop out pods and eat. Yum! See how custardy-soft the fruit is? You can use a spoon, but if you revel in the texture like me, you’ll want to get your fingers in there and lick and slurp until you reach the pit.

Finally, deodorize your mouth, face and hands. If you’re a messy eater like me, you’ll want to wash your lips, chin and hands. Then brush your teeth. Here’s advice from harrycovair, who slurped up his durian and then went to work: “Use mouthwash to get rid of the taste. Then swallow it so that you don’t burp up the durian smell and drink a couple more shots of mouthwash while you’re at it.”

Thanks to c_chan, I opened my durian at its prime on Sunday evening. Not only is it the best durian I’ve ever had — grown locally by Wailea Ag on the Hamakua Coast and a bargain at $4.50 a pound, trust me — it also has the smallest pits ever, which means even more flesh to slurp!

I’ve shared my goopy pods with c_chan, Lucy, Ray the plumber, harrycovair and Alan Okami, who assembled five of his guys at Koaloha Ukulele to share in his durian initiation. Thank you, Koaloha! Sorry about the rough camera work.

And despite what you see in the video, durian is really, truly magnificent.