Ah, durians. There is nothing quite like wolfing down a freshly opened Mao Shan Wang durian with your fellow durian lovers.
Durian season might be coming to an end. And it’s during the offseason where durian lovers alike reminisce about the good times they’ve had with loved ones and friends over enjoy some succulent durians.
While most of us durian lovers might be missing the umami flavour of the fruit, have you ever noticed the presence of durians in our everyday lives?
1. In Architecture
Take a drive along Singapore’s central business district. A few things might stand out – the magnificent cityscape, the breath-taking Marina Bay Sands, and the statuesque Merlion. But have you ever noticed the spectacular durian-looking building along Esplanade Drive?
While the architects from DP Architects and Michael Wilford & Partners did not take inspiration from the King of Fruits, the Esplanade is unofficially but affectionally dubbed as “the durian”. That’s because the structure of the domes bears a thorny structure that is similar to the durian husk (which take at least 2 months to clean!).
The Esplanade is also one of Singapore’s must-visit tourist attractions for its one-of-a-kind exteriors and lush furnishings. Even if one isn’t a huge fan of durians, the Esplanade makes a stellar backdrop to any picture and selfie.
Speaking of tourist attractions…
2. In Tourism
If there is one thing Singapore is known for amongst tourists, it has to be our local food culture. The lion city offers a diverse variety of dining options that cater to foodies worldwide.
To most tourists, it seems like durians are one of Southeast Asia’s food attractions. While durians did not originate from Singapore, the King of Fruit has made its way to numerous travel vlogs in Singapore.
The pungent smells and sticky textures might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely interesting to observe how visitors react to the King of Fruits.
Here’s one travel vlog by travel YouTuber Mark Weins who enjoyed a hearty batch of Musang King. The vlogger remarked that the durian deserved a “moment of silence” for its superb flavour. The look on his face after taking his first bite at the 3:38 mark says it all!
Jimmy Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live, also had his first experience with durian with Jessica Chastain of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Labelled as the “Bleu Cheese of Fruit”, Jessica tried durian in Singapore and fell in love with it!
Book lovers, rejoice! The thorny fruit has found its way into books as well.
Beyond just an edible pleasure, it appears as if durians are imagined as a window into the past by various local authors as they are portrayed as an instrument of bringing people together.
For instance, in David Leo’s Ah… The Fragrance of Durians, durians are celebrated within these short stories as extraordinary delicacies. Similarly, Wong Yoon Wah’s memoir-slash-essay Durians Are Not the Only Fruits give some insight about the significance of durian during his childhood and why it is perceived as a valuable tropical gem.
Beyond prose, durians have also made their way into poetry. You can find mentions of durian in a poem entitled Durian in award-winning poet Gilbert Koh’s Little Things: A Poetry Anthology.
If you are missing the juicy taste of durians during the offseason, why not partake in some light reading and bask in the nostalgia of enjoying durians with family and friends?
An Avenue for Interaction and Commune
Nothing beats enjoying a delicious durian feast with friends and family. Durian season might be over and some of us durian lovers might be missing the feasts we’ve enjoyed with family and friends. But as we look back in nostalgia on those times of indulgence, may we have a greater appreciation for the King of Fruit!