May I introduce you to the durian?
The durian is a spiky fruit with a soft, yellow flesh on the inside. Native to tropical areas, people from Singapore love this stuff and can't get enough of it. The "stink" from this fruit is so strong, it is actually banned in public areas in Singapore. All over Singapore, there are signs that say "No durians." The fine? $500.
Recently, one of my co-workers dared me to order one of the durian desserts at Dok Bua, a Thai restaurant in Brookline. How could I say no? Especially since I have already ventured to try stinky tofu, blue cheese, and even natto (Japanese fermented soy beans).
So, I ordered the durian ice cream. I figured it was a mild way to start.
Dok Bua presented this dish beautifully in a coconut shell.
What did I think of the flavor? Hmmm . . . it definitely smelled sort of like . . . a sweet luscious fruit with strong undertone of rotten garbage. It was hard to ignore that sewage-like smell. I can see how the taste can grow on you, but I didn't love it.
Is durian something that you need to develop a taste for?
The rest of the food at Dok Bua was pretty good, and a relatively good value. The lunch specials are pretty generous (see pictures below), and most are around $7.95. The menu is great because it has pictures of every single lunch special. You can just point and order.
The place feels authentic. There's a small Thai grocery store in the front of the restaurant where they sell various Thai snacks. The place is decorated with knick knacks from Thailand. The staff and owners are Thai, and spoke to my Thai co-worker entirely in Thai.
My Thai co-worker says this is one of her two favorite Thai restaurants in the Boston area (Chili Duck in Back Bay being the other one). She vouches for its authenticity, and everyone who went to lunch that day vouched for the great food. Unfortunately, I cannot, for the life of me, remember the names of any of the dishes we ordered. I bet it's because I just pointed at the picture menu and ordered. I remember getting something with chicken in it (sorry, I know, not very helpful). I do remember thinking that it was pretty good - maybe not the best I've ever had, but definitely tasty.
I do have to say that the mango sticky rice dessert at Dok bua is out of this world. I had never had it before, and I was floored. Sticky rice with coconut milk and slices of mango. The rice is warm, and sort of sweet and savory at the same time. It's hard to describe, but the combination of flavors is absolutely delicious. I tried the same dessert at Penang and it was not nearly as good there. Some people complain that the dessert is a bit pricy ($6.95), but I think it's totally worth it.
The durian ice cream, on the other hand, maybe not!
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