Revered in Southeast Asia as the "king of fruits," durian is relatively unknown in the United States. Famed naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (who, like Darwin, independently discovered the theory of natural selection) described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds." This large fruit can be recognized by its thorn-covered husk and pungent odor, which has been likened to the smell of gym socks or rotten onions. That may not sound appetizing, but for those who enjoy it, the smell is worth the taste.
Smithsonian magazine describes the taste as "heavenly," yet quotes French naturalist Henri Mouhot: "On first tasting it I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction."