With much hype and a huge social media campaign, The Pizza Company launched a Durian Pizza recently. Naturally, we had to order one to stink up the Coconuts Bangkok office.
A casual search online revealed that many Thai reviewers thought the pie was pretty tasty. But it’s assumed anyone strongly anti-durian wouldn’t order the made-to-be-hated combination anyway.
TV commercials for the limited edition pie invite watchers to “Destroy the rules of deliciousness with a brand new pizza made with real durian,” while vocal naysayers say the pie just goes against the laws of taste and nature.
The pizza in one size for THB359 (US$11), though customers can choose from thin or pan pie crust. It’s not cheap but that’s because — the company says — they use real monthong durian. This is the most popular variety of the stinky “king of fruits” in Thailand, where a single piece costs about THB120 (US$3.7) from a street side vendor and more in a supermarket.
We had our doubts about the claims of real durian and expected some kind of low-budget, smelly fruit paste to be hiding under the layer of cheese. But that was not the case.
When the pie arrived, it was super low-key. The box looked small, it didn’t smell bad, and the delivery dude didn’t look at us like we were monsters for ordering it. But as we untied the plastic carrier bag, a waft of decaying sweet goodness washed over us, causing other staff members to take cover.
Cries of “It’s just not right” and “I’m gonna throw up” drifted through the office and only three brave staffers agreed to try it for journalism’s sake.
Durian is divisive like that. One employee could not even believe that we’d had such an offensive item sent to our workplace.
As we opened the box, the stank grew heavier in the air, permeating every corner of the office. The pizza looked totally normal. Like it was an unassuming plain cheese pie you might serve to a child and the rotting smell might be coming instead from a nearby dead body or decaying garbage pile. However, as we lifted a slice, we saw the chunks of real durian generously spread under the cheese. This was no paste. This was the real thang.
“Its like they tore apart the flesh of the durian and hid it under the cheese,” said one staff member, who likened the experience to eating soft durian spread on toast.
The pie has only three parts to it: crust, durian, and cheese. The Pizza Company sent the usual array of toppings along with the it: chili, oregano and ketchup, but none of them seemed right so we just dug in to the pie unadorned.
The biggest drama regarding the pizza is happening on Pantip, Thailand’s answer to Reddit. The issue there? People are arguing whether it should be considered a main course or a dessert since it’s sweet and has no tomato sauce.
We all agreed that it seems more like a dessert. The crust is thick, buttery, and greasy in a good way. The cheese is your typical chain pizzeria muck: tasteless and processed. The durian is rich, creamy, sweet, stinky, and spread throughout.
The benefit of the pan pie crust means that, for those that aren’t the biggest durian fans, it does dilute the flavor a bit. The thin crust would be best for durian diehards.
After the pizza had been in the office for about ten minutes, making certain coworkers more and more uncomfortable, a small revolt occurred and the remaining two slices were unceremoniously dumped onto the balcony.
Of the three of us that tried the pizza, we’d all order it again, even if just to let a friend try it and see their reaction. The durian taste is fresh, not too overwhelming, and as one staffer said, “it really does taste just like eating durian.”
The limited edition pie is available until Nov. 21 or until supplies run out. You can order on The Pizza Company’s website or by calling 1112.