That Time I Tried Durian in Singapore

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I will try anything once. Durian was an exception as I had not intention of every trying it, until now. I managed to avoid it while living in Chiang Mai, touring Hong Kong street eats, and cooking in Kuala Lumpur. All these places I was tempted but just couldn’t get past the smell. Why would anyone want to eat something so foul? In Thailand I passed by stands of Durian every day and always thought it was the sewer causing the stench.

So why did I finally try durian in Singapore? Curiosity I suppose. It was one of my last stop on my 3 ½ months through Asia and I couldn’t leave without seeing what all the fuss is about. Could I?

In short, yes. I could have.

Take a Chance

So what led me to sampling durian in Singapore? My incredibly nice and convincing Chinatown Food Adventures tour guide Renee. While strolling through the markets we passed by a stand selling durian in Singapore and he asked if anyone had tried it. Being a completely western group you could hear a pin drop. “Do you want to?” He said with excitement. His eyes lit up as if to say “this is the best damn thing you will ever taste!” A small group of us were intrigued enough to say yes.

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The King of Fruit

Before I go on I should explain something. Nothing about durian in Singapore, or anywhere else, says eat me. First off it’s incredibly spiky and heavy. People actually die harvesting them. Most people wear helmets. If you survive getting one you have to crack it open, unleashing a stench so potent that durian in Singapore is banned in hotels and in public places. I always thought this was blown out of proportion but when Renée took the leftovers in his bag through the Singapore City Gallery I could hardly concentrate on what he was saying in that close space.

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Durian is also a warming fruit meaning it heats you up. Again, people have actually died from eating too much durian with too much alcohol.

But hey, let’s eat it.

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Diving in

I took a very small amounts of the fleshy fruit, closed my eyes, and had a taste. It would be the first and last time I would do so. Not because of the smell. It’s, for some reason, not as potent when eating it. Also not because of the taste as it wasn’t anything like the smell. The reason I won’t be going back for seconds is the fact that the little amount I tried lingered for 2 days! Remnants of the “fruit” hung around my fingers for 48 hours and the burning sensation it gave me lasted a few more. I couldn’t imagine downing the whole durian to myself.

That said…

I get it

The durian in Singapore I tried made me realize why it is so popular. It truly is unlike anything I have ever tasted. Something so unique makes me understand why so many people love it.

Just not this guy.


What say you?
Have you tried Durian in Singapore?
Let’s hear it!

For more worldly eats from Asia and beyond see HERE.


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Although I was provided a complimentary tasting of durian in Singapore thanks to Chinatown Food Adventures,
the experience, opinions, and 2-days of stink are my own.


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  • Brenda Miller

    Eww. No.

  • Pingback: 72 hours in Singapore - This Life in Trips()

  • I came close to trying it during my visits to Singapore. I’m also a “try anything once” kind of guy and I just couldn’t get past the smell and look. I described it to my wife as, “try putting your face in a sewer pipe and then trying to eat what looks like a cancerous human organ.” Not a chance. Great article. Keep up the blog!