A walk around the ‘MBK Food Center’ is a touch offputting. Among all the other sweet and savoury aromas on offer is a smell that, to me, reeks of chicken gone slightly off. This does not inspire confidence in the freshness of the food.
But freshness probably has nothing to do with it. I smelt it in the Tokyu department store too. It is the putrid smell of Thailand’s most highly-prized fruit, the durian, which is just coming into season. Some compare it to a ripe cheese. Alfred Russel Wallace compared it to custard flavoured with almonds; perhaps he was sniffing a different kind of durian. In any case, even Thais find the stink offensive, and carrying them on public transport or into hotels is not allowed.
I tried some a couple of days ago with some sweet sticky rice. The flavour was sweet and savoury, the sweetness probably coming from the rice. A taste yet to be acquired. The brain says 'this is fruit' but the visceral signals ('no, it's old carrion') dominate. I’ll try to give it another go or two.