Friday, July 27, 2018

Durian Tasting

I went to taste durian for the first time. There were four of us, including two local Singaporeans, my friend Kimberley, and me. The stall is open air, due to the smell of the fruit. The aroma all around the stall smells a bit like fruity socks. I have been told many times since moving to Asia that durian smells worse than it tastes. Kimberley and I got there early so we were able to sit and watch some other people buying and eating.

It's usual for people to buy and eat durian at the stall instead of taking it home. I asked my two friends about this and one said she has a strict rule to never allow durian into their flat. The other said only families in which all the members like durian will let it come into their home. It might be tricky to get it home if you don't live within walking distance, though, because the fruits are not allowed on the bus or train.

The stall has plastic tables and stools so we sat down. My friend ordered us two different types of durian. The stall emplyee used a massive cleaver to hack them open and make small cuts for us to pull the fruit apart as we went. There was a box of disposable plastic gloves; my friends said many people prefer not to take the smell home with them on their fingers. One of my friends didn't bother with the gloves. As I looked around I saw that many people had one glove, so I decided to try that.

We shared the two durians by picking up small portions of the fruit. Each piece has a seed inside and you eat the fruit off the seed. Of the two durian, one was more bitter in taste and creamy in texture. The other was more sweet and mild in taste and more solid in texture. I was really surprised about two things.

First, the taste wasn't nearly as strong as I expected. People were right that the smell was strong but the taste was less so. The more bitter durian had a less pleasant taste (to my palate, anyway). The milder one was very nice - quite similar to the taste of a sweet custard sauce.

Secondly, the texture of the fruit was not as firm as I thought. It was softer than a ripe mango. If it wasn't stuck to the seeds you might think that it was easier to eat with a spoon. This is why durians are described as creamy.

I ate quite a few portions and found that I liked the experience. I would go to eat durian again, likely with friends or visitors. It's an authentic, local way to celebrate the durian season in Singapore.

Do you have a favourite bad-smelling food?

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