Friday, October 19, 2012

Food in Singapore 5: The dreaded durian

There are signs in the MRT(Mass Rapid Transit, as the underground railway is known in Singapore), saying, amongst the various prohibitions against smoking, drinking, eating, etc, that there are to be no durians brought onto the train. No wonder! This stinking fruit would cause a mass panic in a carriage, I reckon, with people desperate to reach the exits--and I have experience to draw on now when it comes to the durian. For being always curious to try things out for myself and somewhat reassured by the many things I'd read which assured me it was delicious, you only had to hold your nose while you ate it, I took the plunge and ordered a durian milk ice in a juice and fruit stall in a hawker centre near our hotel last night--nice dessert, i thought, to round out our meal..
Big mistake! Even in that meek and mild form, the durian really does stink. It stinks unbelievably. It stinks of overflowing drains, backed-up sewers, weeks-old rubbish bins. Pinching our noses in dutiful determination, we nevertheless plunged in, and it was bearable in the first mouthful but disgusting in the second and worse in the third and the texture too was not good, mashed up with a slimy juice, making the gorge rise dangerously! We hastily abandoned it and ordered a plate of cut-up watermelon and pineapple to get rid of the taste but all evening I could not help remembering that horrid whiff. Some culinary experiences really aren't worth persisting with. Never again!

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