The durian fruit has an almost legendary status among adventurous foodies. Prized as a delicacy in its native Southeast Asia, durians look more like a giant, spiny troll testicles than something you should ever consider putting in your mouth. The flesh is putrid green, slippery, and reminiscent of something you might find if you unfold an old tissue. It is, all things considered, one of the least attractive foods on earth.
Despite this unappetising appearance, durian’s looks are as nothing compared to its smell. The fruit has, over the years, felled thousands of bold diners before they can even get close enough to take a bite. The late great Anthony Bourdain warned that "Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother" should you take even the tiniest nibble. It smells like someone left their gym bag in the bottom of an open casket. It smells so bad that, in some places, there are laws preventing people from carrying them around in public. Believe us when we say, we are not overexaggerating how much durian’s stink.
The awesome power of the world’s foulest fruit was brought into sharp focus this week with a shocking story from the Australian city of Canberra. It has been reported that a university library was forced to evacuated 550 students and staff, after rescue teams responded to calls describing a “strong smell of gas” emanating throughout the building. However, after hunting high and low, experts were unable to locate the source of the leak.
It was only once everyone had been forced out of the building that emergency services discovered what was responsible. Rather than a potentially combustible gas issue, it was revealed that someone had left a durian fruit in a bin near an air vent. The smell was so potent that it had wafted throughout the entire library, persuading experts that the only option was to evacuate.
Once the discovery had been made, staff at the University of Canberra reassured students that it was safe to return, while castigating those responsible. "The lingering gas-like smell in the building is completely safe — someone left a durian fruit in one of our bins," the university wrote on their official Facebook page, adding, "It's not appropriate student conduct if they did it on purpose, and lack of common sense if they didn't." Given the disruption, it’s easy to see why the university were not amused.
This is not the first time that durian fruits have caused havoc in public spaces. Incredibly, another Australian university was forced to abandon a building due to one of the fruits just last year, whilst the entire Singaporean public transport system has completely banned durians from the network for fear of the disturbance they could cause. They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and this is certainly true. As durians prove - it could be so much worse than it looks. Even if it looks pretty bad to begin with.