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The joy of durian

13 Aug 2017

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), the queen of tropical fruit, is a sweet delight. But what is it that makes the durian (Durio zibethinus) the king of all fruits in Southeast Asia? The mysterious smell complemented by the rich taste of the creamy-textured flesh? Or is it to do with the social gathering at durian hot spots? As the seller opens the spiky fruits (duri an), bending back segments to reveal the fruits nestling in the husk, the expert group offers comments on quality: too ripe, flesh too thick, colour too green. Most prefer to enjoy the wild types in a wild place with a few wild friends. Others like to take durian with a cup of strong black robusta coffee and some ground coconut meat. The forest is likely nearby, sometimes a river. The remoter the better. After a friendly dozen, the feasters travel on, revealing their past indulgence at each new encounter. No possibility for secret intemperance!
Alfred Russel Wallace:
…..Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acidic nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. … as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed.

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