the evil plot of the durian wafer

We regularly make the trip to a nearby city for their massive Asian market and stock up on weird (to us) candy, unusual veggies, mysterious sauces, Kewpie Mayo, etc.  We make a point of getting something totally unknown to us each time, just for kicks.  This time, Sophie picked out these:


Durian Flavored Cream Wafers. Seems innocuous enough.  It’s just little square cookies, right?

When we opened the package, we were assaulted with the most disgusting smell I have ever smelled, something between fetid old gym socks and pus.  I’m not kidding.  Apparently this is just how the durian fruit smells.  I don’t know, I haven’t had one, although I hear they are quite the delicacy in some circles, an acquired taste that some people actually…like.  They make durian ice cream, for example.  Which is shocking because listen, I am serious as a heart attack about the smell.  Really, really bad.

Sophie actually tried one, a small nibble.  She is so brave.

She had to spit it out.  Then the cookies themselves, once the package was open, stank up the yurt.  I put them in a plastic bag and knotted it, but when we came back from a walk all we could say upon opening the door, was “Holy Mother of Chocolate, what the heck is that SMELL?”  Answer: still the durian wafers.  I put them outside, still in the bag.  But we could smell them when we opened the door. I actually don’t know where they are now.  Sophie and Luc took on the quest of disposing of them.  I fear for the local wildlife.

Somewhere, in a board room maybe, someone at “Garden Co.” decided flavoring a low-end, rock-gut, cream wafer with durian was a good idea.  They thought, “Yes, we will sell these internationally.  We will make a profit.  This will work.”  Heck, maybe it IS working: a couple of people defend them in the customer reviews on amazon, so maybe these have a secret, cult following.  And, hey, I mean, we bought them.  They got our $1.09.  (Actually, how much of that buck is actually going to Garden, I wonder?  It can’t be much, given shipping costs, and middle-men costs.)

Bottom line: the mystery of the durian wafer is unfathomable.  Plus: people will eat anything.  I hope this doesn’t put Sophie off trying weird shit.  I think that’s a cool characteristic of hers.  I’ve gotten so staid in my old age.  It’s embarrassing, really.

7 thoughts on “the evil plot of the durian wafer

  1. Cori

    Too funny Maya. I too have had the unfortunate acquaintance of Durian. I had an old roommate who was raw and since it’s sort a holy grail for raw foodists we bought one. Our first clue should have been that there were only five, I repeat five in total in the store. We cracked it open and it is the most unholy of unholy smells and it’s kind of like dead mouse mixed with a highschool locker room garbage. It may not put her off, even after that I’m still willing to try Durian, but maybe when I finally visit Asia and from a packed restaurant or food cart so I know how it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s like sauerkraut of stinky cheese both of which I love, but some definitely hate. It’s all in the taste buds 😉

    1. maya Post author

      I love sauerkraut and kim chee, both of which are vetoed by everyone else in the house, but seriously, there is no comparison in smell. I asked the kids and they said no question, the durian wafers are way worse. I can’t even imagine what the real fruit must smell like. YUCK.

  2. Sarah

    I feel like you just narrated the past 15 minutes of my life! I just experienced this almost word for word. Too good and funny. Thank you for the best review I’ve ever read after the fact smh 😉

  3. Timothy Obialo

    I decided this Thanksgiving would be another great opportunity to cook something fun that nobody will try (Nigerian-American fusion!). I went to Nam Dae Mun Int’l Farmers Market looking for Jamaican hibiscus (aka sorrel aka zobo). I couldn’t resist grabbing a few random snacks as well: instant noodles, ginger tea… and something sweet. “Ooh, Garden cream wafers are on sale for 89¢! Which flavor should I choose? Coconut? Too predictable. Peanut? Maybe next time. Hmm, ‘Durian’ could be nice.”

    I nibbled 2 wafers, and was pretty confused. “Ugh, it’s so musky. Is it contaminated or am I living an Asian market cliché?” My car now smelled like a gas leak, but I decided to check Wikipedia before alerting the supermarket about poisonous cookies.

    “The smell […] has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage. The persistence of its odour […] has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia. […] This strong odour can be detected half a mile away by animals, thus luring them.”

    Oh well, it’s not like I needed more sugar anyway. But I fear that this horror may be too much for even my dog and my compost bin.

  4. Andrew

    My brother’s friend’s wife bought these from an Asian market, not realizing what flavor they were. The smell lingered in their house for days. Me being the adventurous type when it comes to food, I said he should bring them over so I could try them. We opened the ziplock bag outside and ate them, I wolfed down like 3-4 of the wafers. To me the flavor was akin to those crispy French onion things that one puts on green bean casserole, with just a hint of peach that was almost undetectable. My wife forbade me from bringing them home, and put the kibash on me bringing them to work… Posted about eating them on Facebook and our Puerto Rican friend piped up with his love for durian, so to him they went 🙂

  5. Joe

    Durian candies are great too. “Smells like hell, tastes like heaven”. I would give them to students. Eventually they would ask if I ate them and I would say “hell no, I wouldn’t eat anything that smells like that.” Most were outraged, a few entertained. “King of fruit!” Millions of south-east Asians can’t be wrong. Possibly the fruit that kills the most people yearly.


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