When I first walked through Asian fruit markets, I noticed a very strong odour. It’s something I’ve learnt you either love or hate. The odour (in my opinion) is a combination of smelly socks and rotten meat and is known as the Durian, or the “King of fruits” as it is regarded by many people in southeast Asia.
Durian has around 30 recognised species, of which nine produce edible fruit. Many Durian species are sold mainly in local markets. Thai varieties are sweeter in flavour and less smelly than Malay ones. Many consumers have specific Durian preferences, some come with higher prices.
Durian is rich in nutrients, and it also provides the body with minerals, vitamins and good fats. Same as bananas, jackfruit and avocado, durian helps replenish low energy levels.
Culinary use of durian varies from region to region. It is used to flavour sweets, such as dodol, ice kacang, ice cream and even milkshakes. Ketan durian is glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk served together with ripened Durian as well as many other savoury dishes. Fermented durian is also used in many sambals across Sumatra.
A public belief is that durian can be harmful consumed with coffee or alcoholic beverage. The reality is that eating durian with alcoholic beverages can cause you indigestion only if you over consume durian due to its health benefits.
Durian has become so iconic to southeast asian cultures, that it has become inspiration for architecture, Singapore’s oddly shaped Esplanade is called “The Durian”. Jakarta city has also been nicknamed “Big Durian”. So, why if the fruit has become such a centrepiece of SEA, why is it banned from public places? Is it the odour or modernism pushing out the tradition in the name of westernising and progress? What do you think?
The Big Durian
50 ml Durian ice cream 125 ml Prosecco
1. Combine both ingredients in champagne flute and gently stir.
2. Garnish with edible fruit.