Saturday, February 24, 2007

Don't eat the durian!

You'll often see signs in Singapore that say:

No Smoking
No eating and drinking
No flammable goods
No durians

Why? You might ask, are you not allowed to have durians. Let's begin with a simple definition.

Durian: The durian is the fruit of trees of the genus Durio. The durian fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odor, and a formidable thorn-covered husk. Its name comes from the Malay word 'duri' (thorn) together with the Malay suffix that is '-an', meaning "thorny fruit." Durian is widely known in Southeast Asia as the 'King of Fruits.'

A person by the name of Tony Bourdain has said the following about the durian: "Try leaving cheese and a dead body out in the sun and you're in the same neighborhood as the smell of durian."

Now I begin my story:

On a lovely day, Wednesday, 21 February 2007, a group of happy Duke students were enjoying their free time in Singapore. They had spent a lovely morning in Little India, and were off to explore Chinatown. Upon exiting the MRT station in Chinatown, they spotted a delicious ice-cream stand. Most of the students played it safe, getting flavors such as coffee, chocolate chip, etc. One brave graduate student (me), however decided to not stick with the mango ice cream she was craving, and instead in a daring move, took on the adventure of durian ice cream. You would think that the unnatural florescent yellow color of the ice cream would be a warning of what was to come, but no. The "unique odor" of the ice cream which led all of the other students to back 7-10 feet away from her should have been the second, and final clue that the ice cream may not be desirable, but this certain graduate student (me) braved the warnings and took her first bite of her durian ice cream. Instantly, she new her mistake, as the overwhelming taste of fruit, onions, and some other awful taste that she cannot yet distinguish overwhelmed her mouth. Now at this point, one would expect this certain graduate student to quickly discard of the durian ice cream, as it only cost $1 SIN (=$0.65 US), but no. This grad student (me) continued to almost eat the entire ice cream. Afterward, this brave, young grad student had the lovely durian aftertaste in her mouth for an hour.

The moral of this story is, don't eat the durian ice cream!


1 comment:

Borgamo said...

I've got a picture of some Singapore signs including the one you're talking about over at my website. You're welcome to use it!