Sunday, February 21, 2010

Durian Taste Test

Before I left for Singapore, my brother gave me two pieces of advice- "Be safe," and "Don't eat the durian." Typical of a little sister, I took half of the advice to heart and disregarded the other half.

We'd been smelling durian for months- it has a cloyingly sweet aroma. To me, it smells like one part overripe fruit and one part rotting flesh. The smell is so overwhelmingly strong that it's banned from public transportation- you can't take it on the MRT or on a bus without risking a fine, and a lot of hotels post signs asking you not to bring durian inside. When its sold in grocery stores, it's usually prepared by the grocery store for you to limit the permeating smell- they cut up the fruit and put it in a styrofoam container that they seal with plastic wrap. Because they don't sell it whole, I've had a hard time getting a good photo, so the one on the left is borrowed from another website (

Singaporeans are durian crazy. You can buy durian at most grocery stores and at wet markets. There are tons of durian products- dried durian chips, durian ice cream, durian drinks, durian candy, and more. In a mall near our flat, there's a whole food shop-Durian Mpire- that only serves food that contains durian. The monkeys love it too- durian grows in the jungle and the macaques happily munch away when it's in season.

With all this hype, naturally we had to try it. So we got some at the grocery store, and it was surprisingly expensive. It's hard to buy just a little (this is a common problem with fresh food in Singapore), so we had to buy a relatively large amount. When we got it home, I took it out on the balcony and trapped it under a bucket- I figured that 5 minutes in the apartment might turn into 5 days of trying to eradicate the stench. And then we gave it a try.Bryan responded to his taste like an adult, with a pinched face and, "That wasn't as icky as I thought it would be." After Bryan's encouraging words, I vowed to take a bigger bite than he did, and immediately regretted it. If you want to see me struggle to swallow the durian for about a minute, click here (I'm posting videos on Youtube for now- I've been having more problems with Blogger). It tasted pretty much like it smelled- nasty. But when you add in the bizarre, fleshy texture things really get disgusting. It has a skin on it but it's mushy on the inside, and you end up with a mouthful of gooey, mushy, stink with some skin mixed in. I think it's safe to say that I've had my fill of durian for awhile. I guess I should've listened to my brother. Story of my life...

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