I don’t know if it started because I didn’t want to be another one of those English people who didn’t eat durian and always made a fuss about the smell, or whether it was because I genuinely really liked it to start with. I think, actually, durian can be put in to the olive and coffee category: you have to work quite hard at the beginning of your acquaintance before you start having a relationship.
Anyway, having put the hours in on my first trip to Singapore back in 2000, I can honestly say that I love it. I have, in fact, got so atas about the type I eat that I only eat it seasonally. The $5, year-round durians in Geylang that used to be enough to satisfy me, I now, very snobbily, turn my nose up at (instant coffee equivalent). Mao Shan Wang (the kopi luwak of durian, to stick with the coffee analogy) all the way.
There is but one man I trust to buy the very best of this stinky, spikey, calorific form of fruit from. He never overcharges me – well, I feel he never over charges me – and I haven’t had a disappointing one yet. Desmond is easy to find as he’s the only guy in Tiong Bahru market that sells durian and he only sells the best of the season (Mountain Cat, sometimes Golden Phoenix). One large durian from him will set you back about $30. He is miles cheaper than the guys at Ghim Moh market and his stuff is miles better.
Oh, and a word of warning: don’t be tempted to introduce people to durian who haven’t tried it before, for the simple reason that it’s quite expensive and special and when they start spitting it out and shouting that it looks like raw chicken, (the membrane around the flesh of the fruit apparently puckers in the same way…seriously?) you will get pissed off.
Desmond: (+65) 9176 9938
Durian image (very top of page) courtesy of Beyond Bones