You can take the sugar out of soft drinks and the fat from junk food. But eliminate the pungent odor from what may be the world's smelliest fruit and brace for a major international controversy.
The durian, a spiky fruit native to Southeast Asia, has been variously described by its detractors as smelling like garbage, moldy cheese or rotting fish. It is banned from many hotels, airlines and the Singapore subway. But durian lovers — and there are many, at least in Asia — are convinced that like fine French cheeses, the worse the smell, the better the taste.
Nevertheless, a Thai government scientist, who after three decades of research is one of the world's leading durian experts, now says he has managed to excise its stink.