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In pursuit of durian

31 Aug 2017

In pursuit of durian Image

Durian has a bad name but Docklands restaurateur Chan Uoy is doing his bit to boost the reputation of the fruit.

Chan says the polarizing fruit is actually the king of the fruits and deserves to be revered.

Docklanders may recall in 2012 when an office floor was evacuated because of the smell from a worker eating durian at work.

Mr Uoy acknowledges the acute smell, but says it has so many more redeeming features. He is hosting a special tasting night at Bopha Devi in Rakaia Way, NewQuay, on September 20.

“The durian is a mysterious fruit, a noble fruit and yet it is the most formidable fruit known to man,” Chan said.

“Durian looks like a pendulous spiked cannonball weighing up to 5kg and farmers have to wear hardhats because, when it is ripe, it falls to the ground, often wounding or killing those seeking them.”

“Every aspect of the durian is unusual. Its flowers are hermaphrodites, that is, each flower has a stamen and pistil, and they only open at night so cave bats can pollinate them.”

“Each tree can bear 30 to 50 fruits. The tree can grow up to 60 metres tall and have a life of up to 150 years. The durian fruit is actually a capsule and its thick fibrous husk protects a soft yellow flesh, creamy, sweet and pungent.”

The 19th century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace described its flesh as “a rich custard highly flavoured with almond”.

He went on to say: “The more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience.”

The Japanese and Javanese believe that durian is an aphrodisiac.

Durian is highly valued in Asia, but it is banned from hotels, public transport and office buildings.

A variety of durian desserts will be on offer at the tasting night ($8 per dessert), including a number of Cambodian favourites.

The tasting starts at 6pm and finishes at 9pm. Bookings are essential. Phone 9600 1887.

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