We saw some of the new fruits I tasted here, in India, as part of my Life List. The aim is to taste at least a 100 new ones.
We inch closer to the goal, thanks to my trip to Singapore, earlier this month. Read on:
Durian is considered the King of fruits in Singapore, so when I was in the country recently, I had to try some. Now, it is interesting to note that despite the fruit being loved by all Singaporeans (so much that they hold durian-eating festivals), you’re likely to crinkle up your nose upon getting close to one. Yes, the fruit stinks – and unbearably so. In fact, the Singapore law disallows anyone from carrying durian in busses and trains for people have known to faint from the overwhelming stench of the fruit.
I decided to be brave and took along a local friend, Weizhong, to buy (my Indian friend Vikas and I) one durian. It cost about SGD 20. Weizhong is one of the durian-loving citizens and was extremely happy to introduce me to his favourite fruit. When I voiced my apprehension at being able to finish the fruit, he grinned and promised that he would never let the fruit go waste.
Durian resembles a jackfruit, only it is much smaller than the latter. The pokey rind and the edible yellow flesh inside with a large seed, are similar in nature. The fruit-seller cut open a durian for us with his gloved hands andwe found ourselves a table at the hawker centre. Warily, I felt the flesh for texture and decided then itself that it was going to take a lot of will power to actually taste it – for it felt oddly (weirdly, even) soft and creamy in my hands.
(A short, 1 minute video of my friends enjoying durian)
Then comes the part where I tore a bit of the flesh and held is close to my nose. It is a miracle that I did not faint. No, really. It was an assault on my olfactive senses. The first smell to hit me was that of strong garlic (though Weizhong insists it’s not possible). The following was of erm, well, pee. (This, Weizhong totally agreed with.) I am a good contender for a bravery award, for I proceeded to let a tiniest bit of flesh into my mouth. It was SO bad! The texture, smell and taste together was too much for me to handle and I pushed the fruit toward Weizhong. He said my reaction to the fruit was not surprising as most Westerners and many locals cannot bear the fruit either. Vikas though, claimed to have liked it and ate a bit.
The one I had tasted, Weizhong said while savouring the durian, was of the sweet kind. Maybe I’d like to taste the bitter one? Not a chance in hell, I say!
But let me not deter you from trying some durian if you have an opportunity. Maybe you’d like to carry along some perfume!
I’ve tasted 4 exotic fruits, and we have 96 more to go!
Check out my post on other three fruits here.