As weird as it sounds... I like fried durian. A lot. Not unlike stinky tofu, raw durian has a characteristic stink that, like Wu-Tang said best, "ain't nothin' to fuck with." A lot of people can't stomach the smell for more than a few second, and while I can accept it, I certainly wouldn't enjoy standing amongst a sea of splitting raw durians. There's something about frying though, that truly makes everything taste better instantaneously. Durian is no exception. What once smelled like putrid gym shorts becomes... mildly unpleasant gym shorts? With the flavor greatly mellowed through the process of frying, it's actually possible to actually appreciate the other flavors that are present, but usually masked by the stench of rotten onions.
From the same stall that I visited last year, I got the last remaining variation of fried durian that I hadn't tried yet. Made with the combination of 山藥, otherwise known as 'Chinese yam,' and durian, it looks like a Twinkie that's grown some insane strain of purple mold. As lovely a description as that is, the flavor is actually pretty okay. Just like the plain fried durian, this can be described as mildly sweet, with the fragrance of spring scallions ever present. For some reason, the Chinese yam amplified the flavor of the durian, so it's a bit more 'in your face' than the plain one, but the combination of flavors still worked. In summary? Raw durian, still gross to me. Fried durian, still incredible.