If you're traveling in Southeast Asia and you come upon an odd oval fruit that looks like a green porcupine, you have found a durian. Don't be put off by its bad smell; the inside is delicious.
Although the durian has only been known by the Western world since the 16th Century, its history goes back to prehistoric times. The name comes from the Malay root word duri, meaning "thorn" or "prickle," an allusion to its spiny outer covering. Its genus, Durio, has around 30 species, and the color of the edible inside varies from creamy to red. Foodies have compared its taste to a fine custard flavored with almonds, and even the seeds are edible.