My first encounter with durian – its smell to be precise – was in a hotel in Singapore. As I was walking down the hall past a room service cart full of cleaning supplies, I got overwhelmed by very strong unfamiliar smell. I turned around to see one of the maids scrubbing the wall. A silly idea popped into my mind (I blame it on jet lag), it must be smell of natural cleaner. Of course, it was not the smell of some natural cleaner that filled the entire floor; it was the smell of durian, the “king of fruits” as it is known in Southeast Asia. Thanks to my sister who clarified it to me after I blurted out my genius thought. She said that someone must have smuggled it into their room. Really?! Turns out because of its strong odor durian is banned from many hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia.
My durian tasting was probably similar to many tastings done by people who have never seen or smelled durian before. Some of those people call durian the stinkiest fruit in the world. I had to pinch my nose because the odor was beyond my tolerance level, and the taste wasn’t far behind its smell; the texture had consistency of custard with incredibly strong flavor which overwhelmed my taste buds, very sweet, pungent, and some other indescribable flavors. Maybe it will grow on me one day, but for now I’ll pass.
A very serious looking durian processor at work in a supermarket in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Durian pastries, cakes, candy, and other products containing durian can be found in many stores and with street vendors in Singapore and Malaysia.
More about durian in Jonker Walk – Malacca.
I am wrapping up my stories about my trip to Singapore and Malaysia with this unforgettable experience. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures. Happy travels!