Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Durian Hunters

We came to Bintan at the height of the Durian season, and for lovers of this King of all Fruits, it means paradise. For those not familiar with this green and spiky fruit, it is extremely pungent such that its not allowed into trains, planes, cars etc as the smell lingers on for days. One either thinks its a gift from heaven or a curse from hell.

According to Wiki, the 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its yellow or orangey flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds", and I tend to agree.

Thus, we began our hunt for the best durians in Bintan on our bikes immediately after breakfast. It was very thoughtful of Mike to bring along some surgical gloves for me as I love to eat it, but hate the stuff under my nails.

After about 15km, we came across Durian sellers along a quiet road and began the process of negotiating the prices. Here, a fruit costs only US$1.50 compared to US$5 in Singapore. We sat down on the benches and sampled the first round which was above average but not the best. Somehow as we started to get to know the man and his 2 daughters, we found out with great joy that we were fellow believers in the Lord.

That magically melted down all barriers and he started bringing out all the best durians and we ate till we were totally satisfied. The words of the Psalmist, "Come taste and see that the Lord is good" apply aptly even to durian hunting! Indeed, another clear example of His care and love for us.

Fully energized and immensely fulfilled, we decided to take the long way home and what was supposed to be a 40km ride ended up 62km. It was a tough scenic ride with beautiful lakes and small towns.

We also feasted on Otak Otak (spicy fish baked in banana leaves) and that was delicious! It went for an unbelievable US60 cents for 10 pieces with great aromatic coffee to boot and we devoured 40 of those.

Feeling a bit tired and accomplished, we were delighted that our hunt for the best durians in Bintan was bountiful and absolutely fruitful.

ps: The Durian is said to be the architectural inspiration for the new Esplanade Theatre for Singapore... Looking at the design, I can understand why.


Las montaƱas said...

yummy.. I just love those slightly bitter-sweet with a alcoholic flavor.

Thanks for the surgical glove idea, but some people said that washing your fingers in salted water IN a durian husk will get rid of that smell... strange.

Galfromdownunder said...

I was surprisingly impressed by my Durian blowout in Singapore - discovering that there's a difference between the $2 and $12 ones, but only slight.