Sunday, 24 July 2016

Durian Myths: "De-myth-tified"

Durian: a must try for expats!

It's durian season! For many expats this means now is the time to try this iconic Southeast Asian fruit (if you haven't already).

With its strong smell, unique texture and unmistakable spiky exterior, the durian is not only Singapore's national fruit but it is also known as the King of fruits.

Aside from a primarily "love it or hate it" reputation, the durian also is reputed to be many things. Yes, the myths about this distinctly regional fruit abound.

As we like to do around here, we've gone digging for the truth. Here's what we found:

Myth: You cannot bring durian (even the packaged variety) on public transportation.

Verdict: True!  It is in fact illegal to being this smelly "treat" on public transportation. Yes, you will be fined.

Myth: durian is bad for you.

Verdict: True and false. Durian is actually rich in many essential nutrients including Potassium, fibre, vitamins C and B complex and iron. But it is high in calories and loaded with sugar. 1 kg sized durian having close to 1,350 calories whereas an average cheeseburger with fries is approximately 600 calories.

Myth: Durians are high in cholesterol and saturated fats (the bad fats).

Verdict: False. Durians actually have no cholesterol, zero. (Take that, cheeseburger!) While they are high in monounsaturated fats, these are the “good” fats that can help to lower cholesterol.

Myth: Durians cannot be combined with alcohol. (The supposed consequences range from becoming ill to dying.)

Verdict: False. There is nothing to prevent you from eating durian while enjoying a pint...but, this doesn’t sound even remotely like a tasty combination. Perhaps because durian is so high in sugar, which can be hard on your liver, combined with alcohol which is also hard on your liver, the tales of death started circulating?

Myth: Durians should be eaten with mangosteen. The cooling fruit of the mangosteen will balance the heatiness of the durian.

Verdict: False. Durians are often described as having varying intensity of “heatiness” (though, as an expat not fond of durian, I’m not really sure I understand this adjective. I can think of others to describe durians but best to let you be the judge.) Mangosteens are said to have a cooling effect. But it seems this myth has more to do with the fact that the two fruits are in season at the same time.

Myth: Durians are an aphrodisiac.

Verdict: Unless you and your mate are both durian lovers, I can’t see how this could be true. But we’ll let you durian fans draw your own conclusions on this one.

Myth: Durians can kill you.

Verdict: True. But not by the smell (even though it may feel like that sometimes). There are several reports about durians falling from high onto people’s heads. These are freak, uncommon incidents, but we do want to draw your attention to its dangerous, spikey exterior. Handle with care as dropping on your foot can be VERY painful.

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related:
Wild Durians From East Malaysia - Sabah & Sarawak‏