Monday, September 8, 2008

Durian Cheesecake

We had another department lunch on Friday. Our last one having been quite the adventure, I expected nothing less this afternoon.

When my co-worker was planning the lunch, she sent out links to three restaurants for us all to vote on. I of course went immediately to each web site and compared the desert menu. On the basis of the ginger cake with poached pears and squash ice cream, I voted for Bong Su, which, fortunately for me, won the vote.

Given I was not that interested in the main courses, I won’t waste time reviewing them in depth. They had a nice selection. The salt & pepper calamari appetizer was quite good (though not as good as the calamari in Monterey). The papaya and beef jerky salad was surprising, yet tasty, and my yellow curry halibut with pineapple and tomatoes fell in the category of “curry I actually like to eat”. One of my coworkers who also had the halibut complained it was too salty, but I didn’t mind. Everyone else’s food looked delicious.

Then the dessert menu arrived. Initially I was devastated. The menu that had been laid before us was not the same as the menu they have online. I’d been suckered in by a lying liars that lie campaign ad. I wanted my vote back.

But then I saw it:
Durian and Coconut Cheesecake with green apple and cucumber sorbet and fresh pineapple.

Whaaaaaaat??? Durian Cheesecake! The same Durian you’re not allowed to take into hotels in Thailand or on public transit systems in Singapore:

The same Durian of which Anthony Bourdain said “Its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”

The same Durian that made Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern gag?

I had to try it. Not everyone at the table had heard of Durian, while other had personal encounters with the fruit to relate. M had never been able to get past the smell or the texture to actually swallow it. E didn’t like it that much, but didn’t hate it either.

When it arrived, it looked unpresupposing enough. Just like a little piece of cheesecake. The sorbet was green (no surprise there) and the pineapple cut up into little tiny chunks.

I took a bite.

Wow. I mean, my first mistake (which I only made with that first bite) was expecting it to taste like cheesecake, or even like coconut. While it had the texture of cheesecake it had a strong meaty cheesey flavor, but like cheese that had gone bad, with a hint of an fruity onion like twang. And by meaty I mean more savory than meaty, but in cheesecake form it was also very sweet. Like a dessert cheese that had gone bad, or a sweet blue, with moldy fruit on it.

I had to chase it with some of the sorbet and the pineapple, which immediately cut the taste and smell.

And yet… I took another bite. And another. I kept eating it, because somehow it was actually good. I can’t explain how, exactly. Just re-read my description of it and imagine if all those things actually tasted good.

Several other people tired it and promptly made faces and hurried for the sorbet chaser. I, on the other hand, ate almost the entire thing. I probably would have eaten all of it except I was full form the halibut and I ran out of sorbet.


  1. Sadly I saw both episodes on durian. The reactions were such polar opposites that I was left with a lingering curiosity. As I will probably never have the chance to try durian, you, sir, have satisfied my curiosity. I can now say with definitive certainty that durian is indeed good.

  2. Hi All for durian and cake lovers,

    Just wanted to share out that I had just tasted this durian chilled cheesecake for my birthday treat bought by my friend. Wow... it tasted very nice and true to it words, it has durian flesh meat in it. Can taste the cheesy texture as well as not too sweet. They do provide free delivery for certain location. Check them out !

    Book A Cake @ 019 663 7078 or


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.