Friday, September 11, 2009

Durian: 2

There are many stories about this revered King of fruits. How do I describe the fruit. It's like a good thick custard. A good fruit is not just sweet. It should have a touch of bitterness. The best way to eat durian is to squat on the floor.

Durian is very heaty, it makes you warm and eating too much can make you very sick. We have known for ages that if you put some salt in the husk and add some unboiled water, drinking this concoction direct from the husk will cuonteract this. My siblings and I may be in the 21st century, and living in Australia and New Zealand, when we eat durian, we still do this.

You must never ever combine durian with alcohol. Some skeptics have ignored this and almost met with their death. One family has its own story to this warning. I won't go into details as this is a very personal issue.

Durian is an aphrodisiac. After eating durian, you have a warming effect. You know what I mean. There is a Malay saying," When the durian fall, the sarong drops." Some people take its literal meaning. In fact, it means people like durian so much that they will pawn their sarongs to get money to buy the durian. If this scenario is true, plus the pungent smell of the durian, it is far from being an aphrodisiac, if it causes fights in the family.

The water engineer and I went to buy durian. He was wearing his summer shorts in the humid Singapore. He bought the best ones, Sultan, Mountain cat or civet, D24 and the bill went to almost a hundred dollars. I was in the car, and he told me to get his wallet from his pants in the car boot. I took out his long pants and cheekily joked with the vendor that we don't have money and would he take the water engineer's pants. He laughed and said if he took our pants, he would soon be selling used pants instead of durians.

The queen of fruits, is the mangosteen. According to the Singaporeans and West Malaysians, the mangesteen is cooling, and hence an anecdote to eating too much durian. I learned this from my friends C.P. and S.L. Across the South China Sea in Borneo, it is believed that if you eat mangoesteen, you must not eat sugar, or you will die. I never had any mongoesteen when I was a child. My parents were cautious, they didn't want any of us 9 kids to die. I queried Dad, "But I will not eat sugar." Dad replied, it is not just white sugar, it is sugar hidden in biscuits and soft drinks." When I became an adult, I ate lots of mangoesteens.

I have lots more durian stories, I think I will leave them in my book.

Just one more for the road, the cultural centre, the oddly shaped Esplanade building, in Singapore has the look of the durian. Initially people got upset when it was referred as such. Soon, it became a term of endearment. Everyone calls it the Durian. Since the durian is such a well loved fruit, why not?


Ebie said...

Ann, you've got so many interesting fruits. Growing up in the Philippines, whenever the seasonal fruits are sold in the public market, I'd buy whatever I can. Asia produce almost the same fruit, the mangosteen (good health drink) jackfruit, durian, and one more the lanzones. Interesting facts about the durian. Over here, we get our fresh/frozen durian at the Asian market and they are really expensive.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Hi Ebie,

lanzones, how interesting. We have similar fruits which belong to the same family.

In Sarawak, we have the Buah Langsat which is a little sour, and the LOU SAI GUO that make you go to the toilet, it actually mean the diaroahea fruit. It certainly is a good detox fruit.

When I went to Singapore, they have DUKU which has a hard shell, and their langsat from West Malaysia and Indonesia which is very sweet, and people caution you not to eat too much because they cane cause strokes.

On this recent trip, they come up with Duku langsat.

On the University campus, there are some abandon duku langsat trees, but the fruit is not very nice.

Durian, according to my Philippino is too expensive.

I love fruits, just miss them, but I am not "starved" for frozen durian yet.

Steffie said...

Thank you Ann for this very enlightening story about the Durian. Over here I will have to go to very specialist shops to try and get my hand on one. Good thing too that I am warned now about the dangers of eating this fruit. Sounds rather exiting to try one.