Tale of a durian lover …

Not me, although I love durian too, but of one Mat Saleh (Caucasian) who happens to be my hubby. I know he might not be the only Mat Saleh who loves durian but well… he’s the only one that I know. Why the topic on durian? Because yesterday we went to visit the flat that we will be moving into, just to do some measurements so that we’d know the size of the furniture that we will need to buy, and somehow the topic of durian came up in our conversation, since our former neighbour will be going to Thailand to visit his Thai girlfriend. And I thought that maybe I’d share a little about the hubby’s passion for the fruit.

He tried introducing this fruit to his parent hoping that they would enjoy it, too, but failed miserably. Like most Mat Saleh, they thought the smell of durian was just awful and asked him not to place the fruit inside their house!  Well, one can’t say that he didn’t try. His brother and sister have yet to try it, but I think their reaction would probably be the same… hehehe …

I remembered bringing durian whenever I came to visit him during our courtship days. Not the whole fruit but just the flesh packed inside a container and tightly wrapped all over with plastic wrappings, in order to try and contain the strong smell. But still no matter how many layers and how tight I wrapped it up, usually towards the end of the flight (normally it took an average of 14- 15 hrs to fly from Singapore to Switzerland, depending on transit time) the smell of the fruit would start to leak. And at that time, I would always worry in case someone might complain about the smell and that I would be stopped from entering Switzerland, all because of the durians! But still as the Malay sayings goes, Sayang punya pasal (because of love), I never failed to try and bring some for him, partly because he sometimes would ask me to do so and partly because I knew he loved the fruit and wanted to bring it because I thought he might not be able to get it in Switzerland so easily. There had been some funny moments in my efforts to bring him the durians but it would be too long a story to share it here … maybe another time lah!

Anyway just to share, one CAN find fresh durians in Lausanne and Geneva, either as a whole fruit (though this is harder to get) but mostly already pre-packed in a plastic container, similar to those that are sold in supermarkets in Singapore. But they are only found in some Asian stores (mostly Vietnamese stores) and not all the time. The only catch…the durians are mostly flown from either Thailand or Vietnam but none from Malaysia.  Unfortunate for me, as I prefer Malaysian durian because of its slightly bitter taste. But beggars can’t be choosy lah! When there’s a craving and no other choice was available even a Thai or Vietnamese durian tastd just as delicious! And the hubby can’t tell the difference in the taste, anyway. However, be prepared to pay premium price for durians here. A whole fruit may easily cost more than CHF 30 (about SD$40). No SGD$1 durian for lelong here, that’s for sure!

So knowing how much he enjoys the fruit, last year I decided to bring him to visit my aunts in Malaysia during the durian season. Although he had seen fruit-bearing durian trees in Singapore as there were several of them growing in the estate where I used to live … but it was only from far since these trees were on private properties. I was sure that he would enjoy the pleasure of picking up the durians that had fallen to the ground, just as I did when my family used to go and visit my aunts and grandparents. And since he had never been to Malacca and had always wanted to do so, it was like killing three birds with one stone. I got to visit with my aunts and he got to visit Malacca plus getting his first taste of picking durians. It was also his first visit to a real kampung (village).

Hmmmm …. as you can see from the pictures, he certainly enjoyed himself during the visit going round and picking up fallen durians as well as looking for ripe rambutans and mangosteens, which unfortunately were a little too early in the season.

psst: By the way, our neighbour doesn’t like the smell of the fruit either and mentioned about smelling it sometimes when he used to live in our building. But he assured us, that it was not from our unit but rather from the Vietnamese neighbours from the ground floor! 🙂

Busy picking fallen durians with my best friend and chope-ing one with his foot?

dscn27703All smiley and happy with his durian findings!

dscn2763Eyeing the durian.


And finally enjoying the fruit of his hard labour! Well actually not really. My aunt had kindly selected and set aside the good durians for us when she was told that we would be coming, so we had those instead.  Hmmm…..unfortunately, this durian lover still has not mastered the art of prying open the durian!

Busy looking for rambutans (on the left) and mangosteens (on the right) that might have ripen.


 Looking so smug and happy when he managed to find some ripe ones 🙂

PS: in case you wonder about the colour of the rambutan, this is the yellow coloured variety which is not as common as the red rambutans. And for the uninitiated, rambutan is the one that he held with his teeth while mangosteen is the one in his hands. 😀


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