Stinking fruit cuts flight short

 

The durian, a tropical fruit with a reputation for a pungent olfactory experience—stink, to be blunt about it—cut short a flight last week from Montreal to Vancouver.

Shortly after take-off, crewmembers and passengers reported a strong and very unpleasant odor, but could not locate where it was coming from. The pilots of the Rouge 767, carrying 245 passengers, put on their gas masks and requested permission for an emergency landing and returned to Montreal.

At the airport, the smell was traced to a forward cargo compartment, where the shipment of durians was found and removed. Even its devotees have described its aroma as resembling rotten onions, sewage or vomit. It's not clear why the fruit, grown in Southeast Asia, was being shipped to Vancouver, the Canadian port closest to their origin.



Photo: Yun Huang Yong/Wikimedia

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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I don't think that devotees would ever describe durian as smelling of vomit or sewage. I count myself amongst them and would describe the taste as resembling custard with a hint of onion, maybe. There are, however, numerous different types of durian - each with a different aroma, which also depends crucially on the degree of ripeness.

I shall be hunting round the vegetable stores in South-Western Sri Lanka in December. Unfortunately, it is not the season, but they grow a particularly early type in the uplands around Kandy.

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