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  • Writer's pictureJince Baby

A Durian story from Singapore

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

During my holidays at Singapore, in most public places, metro trains, buses I noticed 3 signs: No smoking, No eating & drinking, “No durian”!. Even in sub ways, malls, some hotels Durian fruit is banned. Every traveler will be amazed by this “No Durian” sign. Why should somebody ban a fruit in public places? It is the only fruit banned in public places. I was curious and tried to know more about durian. One of the most smelliest fruits in Asia!

A busy Durian street at Singapore. Art by Jince Baby

Durian is a local fruit in Singapore with a sharp thorny husk looks some what like the jack fruit in our country. But if you think that Singaporeans don’t like durian you are mistaken. Singaporeans are hard core fans of durians. They explore in search of best durian. Perhaps it is one of the most consumed fruit there. It is banned because of its distinctive odor of its edible flesh which you can smell a mile away. Eating Durians is an amazing experience. For durian lovers anything with durian flavor is extremely tasty but for those who don’t like durian the smell is too strong and it stays back in air for a long period of time and it takes a long time to dissipate especially in crowded areas like trains and buses.That is why it is forbidden to carry durian in public places. For most of the Singaporeans durian is a fragrant fruit but for others the smell is offensive and strong. It not banned everywhere in the country. In fact People here eat durians everyday. It is available in all the fruit shops in Singapore and amazingly there are many fruit shops only for Durian.

You may be interested to know about this surprising fruit.

Each fruit weighs 2–4kg and almost round in shape. Outside husk is covered with sharp spines which reminds the jack fruit. The thorns are so sharp that It may kill you if you stand under a durian tree if one fall on your head. Inside it is filled with a mass of firm, cream colored pulp .The pulp cover brown seeds. The pulp is the edible part. It is like a smooth custard cream in the mouth.

Durian is a local fruit in Singapore with a sharp thorny husk looks some what like the jack fruit in our country. Art work credit : Jince Baby

My Durian Party…

In Singapore I was lucky to taste my first fresh durian. I was guided by a Singaporean family for this. They are our very close friends. They took me to a big durian shop. To select the best durian from hundreds you need some skills. They sniffs each fruit and shake it gently and selected some best ones for us. The ‘Durian parties’ are very famous in Singapore. They eat it sitting around a dining table and slowly opens each durian. Each person in the party should taste a bit of each durian because the taste of each fruit is unique. To open the hard husk of the fruit you need to have a special durian knife which should be very thick. When I opened it's pulp it was pale yellow in colour. I felt the smell like onions. For different persons it smells a slight differently. You are supposed to pick the pulp and eat it with your hands. I was surprise by the taste of my first durian. For me the taste was like a smooth creamy custard with a little bit of sweetness. They are “heaty” which means it makes your throat feeling dry after consumption. But the medicine against this is to pour water in the empty husk of durian and consume it. To get rid of the smell from your fingers you have to Pour water onto the inner surface of its shell and use the same water to wash your hands. Amazingly, it works.

There was a wonderful aroma in the air and it was a nice memory. For Singaporeans every Durian meal is a dream. It is a prestigious and prized fruit due to its unique appearance and excellent aroma. It is widely known in Asia as the 'king of tropical fruits'. Singaporeans make Durian Cake, Durian Puffs, Durian Pudding, Durian ice cream, Durian moon cakes and even Durian Sandwich. In Singapore a building called “Esplanade’’ is constructed in the shape of durian which is also an icon of Singapore. If you are interested in trying new fruits don’t miss this wonderful fruit. I am sure you will also become a durian lover like me.
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