Durian: King Of Fruits


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Durian: National Fruit Of Singapore

The name ‘durian’ orginates from the Malay word ‘duri’ which means thorn, conjoined with the suffix -an to signify a noun. Durians are tropical fruits commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia. Durian fruit also contains a high amount of sugar, vitamin C, potassium, and a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Critically acclaimed as the ‘King Of Fruits’, however it evokes different responses from different people. As it is an acquired taste, therefore it’s either you crave or refrain from it. With its distinctive smell and taste, it was once described by world-renowned naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace as a ‘buttery custard flavoured with almonds, intermingled with wafts of flavour that call to mind cream cheese, onion sauce, brown sherry and other incongruities’. Agree? Rather, I’m confused. 

Being Singapore’s National fruit, we decided to build our arts theatre, The Esplanade, to resemble like one. National pride? Jokes aside. Durians can be found selling all year round here. Here are a couple of popular hangouts for durians: Along Chinatown in front of People’s Park Centre and along Sims Avenue Lorong 17 and Lorong 15 at Geylang. Of course there are a few more other places too.

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Just like berries, which comes in many variety, same goes to durian. Here are some commonly seen variables in Singapore.

  • D24 durians are possibly the most popular type of durian you would find. It is known for its bittersweet taste, small seeds and signature dark yellow flesh.
  • The King of all durian, Mao Shan Wang, which means ‘mountain cat king’ in Mandarin. The Mao Shan Wang possess a small seed which means you get more flesh to savour. The flesh is firm but creamy on the inside, with a tinge of bitter after taste, making this a heavenly eating experience.
  • XO durians are probably the prominent one which has an acquired taste. As the name suggest, the alcoholic aftertaste lingers longer than its bitter taste may either be well loved or hated. So if you prefer the sweeter kind of durians, then stay away from this!

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The next time you visit a durian stall, try picking one for yourself. Here are some tips to boost your chances of money well spent. Firstly, it should be fragrant even before slicing open. Next, give it a little shake and feel for the “knocks” as this will represent that the flesh is ripen thus detaching from the core. Lastly, the colour of the durian should be greenish rather than brown or anything else.

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