On Durians, Mooncakes, and Where to Find the Best
Sunday, 19 Aug 2012
Really want to live the Singapore experience? First you need to try these local treats – and don’t forget to bring forth the lion heart.
It’s been likened to rotten onions and incredibly rich custard, so if there’s anything we agree on, it’s that you’ll only have a love-hate relationship with this fruit.
Pros: It may be high in fat, but durian is a nutritional powerhouse – it’s rich in vitamins B, C, postassium, and dietary fibre. It’s also virtually cholesterol-free! Get the good ones and you’ll be rewarded with a rich, creamy custard. We suggest going for a bittersweet variety like the D-13.
Cons: This baby’s sure has its odds stacked against it. Most people can’t get past the smell (our team is split 50-50 on this) and it’s bound to make your breath and hands stink.
1. To keep your hands clean, try plastic gloves. You’ll look a sight but we’ve tested this method and it’s stink-proof.
2. Or try washing your hands with water passed through durian husk – this will remove most of the smell. Alternatively, try washing your hands with salt.
3. Try frozen treats to begin with – the smell is less strong and usually slightly muted.
4. Durian desserts are – unsurprisingly – less intimidating. If you have visitors in town, start them off with durian ice-cream before progressing to durian puffs and cake.
For the freshest durians – and an unbeatable roadside durian-eating experience – hit up celeb-fave 717 Trading. Durians here don’t come cheap, but we reckon they’re way better than those Geylang tourist traps. They also make finger-licking good durian puffs for the pint-sized durian eaters.
717 Trading, 22 Yio Chu Kang Road, #01-01 Highland Centre, p. 9675 1821
Everyone clamours for the durian mousse cake at Goodwood Park Hotel. Another stunner is the deep-fried durian ice-cream at Majestic Restaurant, but if you’re gunning for plain durian ice-cream, skip the ones out of the supermarket and head to Udders for a frozen fix.
Like durians, mooncakes are seasonal; unlike durians, however, mooncakes have just been getting wackier by the year.
Pros: 100% stinkproof – unless you attempt a durian mooncake – tons of varieties (from snowskin to sugarless to yogurt to baked), more palatable than durians, and probably cheaper than it too.
Cons: Pretty much a caloric bomb. And you can only usually find really good ones for a month/year. For the uninitiated, don’t try eating mooncakes whole (our German friend attempted this and has avoided the treat ever since); instead, slice the mooncake into taster portions to savour.
Where: It’s hard to narrow down the list, but we’ve picked out the crowd favourites and some new ones debuting this year.
Majestic Restaurant is debuting a new baked mooncake with mixed nuts and lobster. Sounds totally kooky, so if you’re not too adventurous, opt for their double-yolk lotus paste baked mooncakes. It’s a sure winner.
The snowskin champagne mooncakes at the iconic Raffles Hotel are pricey but a must-try. For other boozy options, Bakerzin has a liquer truffle collection with snowskin mooncakes featuring pink champagne and brandied cherries.
For the adventurous, Peony Jade makes a really good snowskin durian mooncake. While you’re there, pick up their snowskin mooncake filled with mango sago and pomelo – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at much flavour is packed in there.
Image: Majestic Restaurant