Thursday, July 3, 2014

King of Fruits, Sultan of Stench

Celebration of Durian

Know as the King of Fruits, durian is a divisive fruit.  Its fans adore it while others pinch their noses in disgust to its pungent smell.  With its spiky shell, durian looks more like a prehistoric weapon but once hacked open, the fruit yields sweet creamy pods unlike any other fruit.  In fact its notorious smell has lead to durian bans in public places such as hotels and public buses (out of courtesy for lesser fans of durian).

Such durian prohibitions would fool the unsuspecting into believing that durian is unwelcomed and unappreciated, but on the contrary, durian is often referred to as the unofficial national fruit of Malaysia.   In June when durian season is in full swing, fruit trucks full of durian set up pop-up shops by sidewalks, proudly welcoming folks to stop by and enjoy a fresh durian with friends or strangers. 

 Mid-day snack at the fruit truck

 Pick a sweet one!

 Fresh and sweet to share

Not unlike durian, Malaysian society could be classified and divided into many categories based on racial, ethnic, religious, high or low skilled, socio-economic conditions, among other categories.  Yet, despite these tensions, there is an unwavering faith in the state and its people.  The Malaysian people willing accept the state of the nation and strive to live and work within the status quo to better their country and embrace the plurality and diversity that defines Malaysia.  Just as durian fans and anti-fans may not agree on durian, both sides can appreciate and respect their differences, contributing to the food diversity that is Malaysia.

Durian infused sweets diversified into chocolate and dragon beard candy

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