When you go out for a pizza, or order one to be delivered, what topping do you usually choose?
Quattro Stagioni, Capricciosa, Margharita, Napoletana, or something a little different such as Durian Pizza? Durian?…WTF! the most horrible tasting/smelling fruit in the entire world combined with mozzarella as a pizza topping -whose crazy idea was that?
Two words: Pizza Hut ( 必胜客 Bìshèng Kè).
Yes folks, they are the geniuses behind this abomination.
Firstly I should say that whilst I do like a pizza once in a while, Pizza Hut, Pappa John’s and all those other big business pizza franchises are not where I would ever head, their pizzas don’t appeal. The honourable exception to that view was the British pizza chain Pizza Express which was excellent when it first got going (it is now owned by a Chinese conglomerate).
But for Pizza Hut to come up with the ‘concept’ of durian on pizza beggars belief.
For those of you who do not know about durian, let me give you some background info. A durian is a large spiky husked fruit with a pungent odour which is grown in SE Asia. There are 30 species of the genus Durio, but the most common one found internationally is Durian kutejensis. When ripe the smell of the fruit can be detected over a distance of half a mile by animals ranging from squirrels, mousedeer, elephants and carnivorous tigers – tigers! I kid you not.
Many years ago I tried Durian Ice-cream in Singapore – one spoonful was enough to make me gag, and despite washing my mouth out with water five or six times I just couldn’t get rid of the lingering taste. However people in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia seem to love the fruit, and so do many Chinese.
I’ve heard the taste of durian described as ‘eating garlic flavoured egg custard over an open sewer’. Two of the most famous cookery pundits have described it thus: “the taste of dead babies mixed with strawberries and Camembert” (Julia Childs); and “its like french-kissing your dead grandmother” (Anthony Bourdain). And I wouldn’t disagree with a word they said.
Most SE Asian airlines will not allow you to take a durian on a plane, Singapore Mass Transit bans them, and many hotels in Malaysia have large ‘No Durian’ signs posted on their entrance doors – I don’t blame them.
But will they be able to ban Durian Pizzas???
*pongiest is English slang for ‘smelliest’ – a pong is a bad smell.