As I noted at the end of my last post, we had just finished a repast of Khmer Noodles (Num Banh Chok), and the Missus had wandered off. It seems that She had been unable to ward off the temptation of fresh Durian. And having been suitably tempted, She purchased a nice fresh Durian. I'm sure that all travelers to Southeast Asia has at least one Durian story, and here's ours.
The Missus has this Durian, the smell of ripe compost wafting in the air so thick I could have cut it with a chainsaw. She brings it into the car...now you must remember that we have a whole, hot, humid day ahead of us.
And though Narin thought it humorous that the Missus would be so excited over Durian, I was kind of worried about having the smell of stewing sewage permeating the car for the entire day. Which led to a conversation:
Me: Did you really have to buy that Durian?
The Missus: Looks good, huh? And I didn't see any "no Durian" signs around the hotel.
Me (lowering my voice): You realize that this car isn't Narin's, right? He's probably renting it. And he'll return the car smelling like Durian.
The Missus: Oh.....
Suddenly, the Missus brightened up...it had all become clear, a solution presented itself. The Missus reached over, opened my backpack, placed the Durian into my backpack, and zipped it up tightly. I should've kept my mouth shut. To this day, Sammy will be walking past my backpack, he'll suddenly stop, sniff, and look up at me with an expression that says: "Daddy, did you poop in your backpack?"
Along the way to our first destination Kbal Spean, we passed numerous stands; each with woks, or pans simmering over fire. Narin, seeing our interest, stopped. These stands were making Palm sugar:
Narin showed us the various Palm Sugar products.
There was also a Cashew Tree, which fascinated me. I'd never seen one up close before.
The nice lady even had the Missus taste a cashew fruit.....I could tell by the sour look on Her face, that I wanted no part of it.
As our way of thanking the lady for being so gracious, as we found most all Cambodians to be, we ended up buying two tubes of palm sugar.
This palm sugar is darker than the palm sugar I buy at the market here in San Diego.
The flavor is a much more condensed "complex" sweetness. I used some in a Beef Salad I made, and because I used the usual amount of the stuff, it overpowered everything else in the dish!
As we headed up the 25 or so kilometers to Kbal Spean, it started raining pretty hard. Narin smiled, turned to us and said: "this is quite unusual, it is early for the rains to start, you must be good luck."
Here's another Durian story, some friends of mine have a bunch of siblings...so many that I think I've lost count. When they were young, their Mom, always so resourceful, used to lock up the Durian in a cabinet with chains and a padlock!
So what's your Durian story?