Durian, a fruit so stinky that it has been banned in public buses and trains in Singapore, has been turned into wine.
It’s a formidable feat pulled off by a team of student researchers at the National University of Singapore who hope to commercialise their durian wine and see the product on store shelves.
Often termed as the ‘King of Fruits’ by many in South East Asia the durian — also the world’s stinkiest fruit — is likewise perhaps the most polarising food with people who either love it hate it.
Though food and travel host Anthony Bourdain is a fan for its rich buttery, creamy flavour and texture, he also describes it in less than flattering terms. “Its taste can only be described as... indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you had been French-kissing your dead grandmother,” he says.
Need more? It’s also described by various chefs and writers as akin to eating custard in a sewer, turpentine and onions garnished with a gym sock, and rotten mushy onions. If successful, the Singaporean doctorate students will be able to bottle it as a wine. After testing out different fermentation methods, the end result is a wine of 6% alcohol which is devoid of the fruit’s pungent smell. The same team also produced a wine made of papaya as a means to reduce wastage, given that the fruit is highly susceptible to spoilage due to rapid post-harvest deterioration, high heat and humidity and poor handling.
After five years of research, scientists have come up with several different papaya wines spanning 2 to 5% alcohol with different characteristics and aroma profiles. Meanwhile, recently, McDonald’s in Singapore also came out with a buzz-generating durian-flavored McFlurry in time for durian season.