At worst, the smell has been compared to the stench of a public lavatory; at best, a rotting Camembert cheese sweetened with honey. I agree with neither description. My first date with the king of fruits was at age nine when I was still adventurous enough to try anything. From the very first moment I bit into its pungent, pulpy flesh, sparks flew.
I wouldn’t peg myself as a fruit lover in general; in fact, I openly pour scorn on anyone who chooses fruit salad over a hot chocolate cake for dessert. So, my love affair with durian is a bit of a personal coup. I’m even strangely protective of the fruit; anyone who slags it off without having tasted it should, in my opinion, be forced to eat their way out of a durian-filled bathtub. But despite my passionate affection for durian in all of its stinking glory, I rarely get the opportunity to chow down.
As any aficionado knows, the best place to get your fix is in Geylang, but because I don’t know anyone else who likes durian and I’m too chicken to sit on a street corner in knocking-shop central by myself, I miss out. And I daren’t bring it into my condo for fear of being lynched by the neighbours (not to mention my husband). I suppose I could buy it pre-packed in the supermarket and eat it in the car park, but I fear that the resulting (and guaranteed) deluge of durian-burps might put a strain on my marriage.
I wish I could convince people of the durian’s virtue and offer convincing justification for its existence, but what hope is there when I can’t even convince my own husband to try it? The good news is that we have just moved to a new condo and our new apartment has a bathtub.
Durian Fast Facts
• A durian is a large, oblong fruit that can grow up to 12 inches in length. It’s spiky on the outside;
on the inside are big, yellow seeds surrounded by a custardy pulp.
• In Singapore, durian is banned on public transport
• The word durian is derived from the Malay word duri, which means thorn
• Durian season is from June to August
Where to get it: Wonderful Fruit Enterprise, 147 Sims Ave, Geylang. There are lots of other durian sellers in this area, too.