April 08, 2013 02:19 PM

Durian: A Versatile Fruit

[Singapore]

By Joyce Tan Interviewed on April 5, 2013

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Though an unlikely suspect, the king of fruits is used to make traditional confectioneries, cakes, drinks, and other seasonal delicacies. Recognizing the need to let readers get up close and personal with the strong smelling fruit, FOODRINK NEWS has put together a quick guide. You'll thank us for helping you get to know the durian and where to find the best of it all in Singapore. 

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Durians on a bench!

For those unfamiliar with the durian, the fruit is something of a nightmare - a nightmare which through time, we've unexpectedly grown to love. Its naturally occurring pungent aroma, once described by 19th century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace as a "rich custard highly flavored with almonds, intermingled with occasional wafts of flavor that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes," has led to the durian's perpetual ban from public transport systems, hotels, and shoppers' malls in most countries. 

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Thick, creamy, and flavorful, the durian is a strong smelling fruit well-loved by Singaporeans. 

Beloved in Singapore, the durian is unofficially coined the city's national fruit. Even if you don't have a good enough reason to try this fruit, you'll be pleased to know that the durian is rich in potassium, dietary fiber, vitamins B, and C. Durians are everywhere in Singapore and wherever you go, there's bound to be a supermarket selling durian pastries, biscuits, and drinks or street hawker selling durians. What's even more surprising is that the durian has found its way into the Esplanade's architectural design!  

Just as there are different types of coffee, Arabica to Bali, durians too have many different types, varying in texture, shape, and color, and appealing to all kinds of people; from the deliciously creamy 'mao shan wang' (cat mountain king) to red colored 'hong xia' (red prawn). Lasting favorites include the D24 Sultan and mao shan wang. Read on to find out where to get high-quality durians. 


Combat Durian Balestier

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In 2012, Combat Durian Balestier won the critically acclaimed Asia Pacific Brand Awards. 

Famous island-wide for its mao shan wang, D24 Sultan, and XO flavored durian, Combat Durian Balestier is a brightly-lit little roadside hawker stall right smack in front of the Goh Chor Tua Pek Kong temple. Of particular importance is the stall's mao shan wang, which has a firm but smooth caramel like texture topped with a neutralizing bitter taste, making it ideal for the manufacturing of popular sweets and desserts like the durian puff and durian cake. 
Where to go: 279 Balestier Road, Singapore 329708


717 Trading

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717 Trading is forever bustling with people; it's owner Mr Goh is more than happy to present you with his spiky green husks!

If celebrity testimonials and news reports are anything to go by, 717 Trading's D24 Sultan durians are a must-try. Moist, with hints of bitter sweet flavors, the stall also manufactures its very own D24 durian puffs to cater to those with a sweet tooth.  
Where: 22 Yio Chu Kang, Highland Centre, Singapore 545535


818 Durian 

For the price conscious consumer, 818 Durian is the ideal place to grab your buttery mao shan wangs at discounted prices. Every evening at 7 p.m. sharp, hordes of durian packed in rattan baskets are delivered to the stall from Pahang, Malaysia, to fete the appetites of durian fans queuing up since 5:30 p.m. If you wish to savor the stall's buttery mao shan wang, be prepared to join in the queue. 
Where: 210 Telok Kurau Road, #01-02, Singapore 423910 

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