Monday, August 22

The Yin and Yang of Mangosteen and Durian

Frangelico and I have just returned from a trip to Singapore, where we were visiting my dad. We tried to fit in as much feasting as possible in the one week (all in the interests of the blog, of course). Here's the first course...

August in Singapore is the time when mooncakes start making an appearance. These treats are a staple of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a harvest festival celebrated on the 15th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. The festival usually falls in September or October, but hotel delis and restaurants start stocking mooncakes well before that. Traditional fillings consist of red bean or lotus paste, but the offerings are getting more and more interesting by the year. A recent article in a Singaporean paper mentions, amongst other concoctions, purple potato with cranberry jelly, and champagne truffle with ganache.

Snowskin durian mooncakes

This year, our dear Uncle G gave us a gift of durian mooncakes. The durian, hailed as the King of Fruit in South East Asia, leaves no one indifferent - you either love it or you hate it. Happily, Frangelico (despite never having sighted this prickly green dinosaur of a fruit until a few years ago) loves it. Its aroma is strong (and that's putting it mildly), which means the fruit is banned in public transport on the island, and in the cabin of Singapore Airlines. To me, it's magnificent - with a heavy scent of forests and leaves, deep and sulphurous. The flesh of the fruit is a light yellow, and it's thick and gooey, like condensed milk would be if you concentrated it even further. The taste is rounded sweetness, with just a twinge of sharpness.

The Chinese characters on the top translate as 'bring it on'

When eating durian, one has to be careful. It falls into the category of 'heaty' fruit, or what's known as 'yang' in traditional Chinese medicine. Practically speaking, this can mean a sore throat and a break-out if you don't do something to balance it out! But nature provides the required balance, in the form of the mangosteen.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen are 'yin' fruit, and they're believed to cool things down. Typically, durian and mangosteen are eaten together, and fruit stalls selling the former will often have a stock of the latter available. They want their customers to survive the experience, after all.



Love

Truffle

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks Delicious! Wish we can have some of the mooncakes across Europe for the Leo's birthday parties!!!!!!

Hungry Female said...

I love the yin-yang reminder:) Mooncakes are so fancy these days, I see you had one of this "snow-skin" varieties! They are becoming the Chinese version of the truffle: won't be surprised if we start seeing petit four sizes!

Anonymous said...

This brings me right back to sunny and warm Singapore, which I miss tremendously. I think tasting durian at least once in life should be on everyone's to-do lists. Like me, you might find them exquisite and decide to make a regular habit of it!

I am told that the best durians are to be found in Thailand or in Penang (northwest Malaysia). Would any connoisseurs be able to weigh in? I am tempted to do a trip to origins at some point for the best and freshest - I am sure Truffle +1s this idea!

Love,

Frangelico

I'm So Fancy said...

You've actually described the durian so beautifully that I believe I"m finally ready to pony up. I've always been so afraid...

Cinnamon and Truffle said...

To Anonymous Number One (that's my mother): when are the Leo birthday parties? And how come we didn't get invited? ;)

HF: That is such a great observation. I can see the boutique on Piccadilly already...

Frangelico: Absolutely. +1 to that.

Frau Fancy: I'm so pleased! But I'd advise not getting it in London for your first try - it won't be the same...

Su-yin said...

Oh man I miss durians (and mangosteens)! The local fruits are definitely something I always crave for.. dukungs are another favourite. I can't remember the last time I had mangosteens!

Balik Pulau durians are the "famous" durians of Penang, definitely the most flavoursome I've had. :)

Mañana Mama said...

Those look fabulous, I must try durians and mangosteens and mooncakes (and stop reading your blog on an empty stomach!). Such a lovely post, so I've put it in my autumn carnival by the way, hope you don't mind: http://www.manana-mama.com/2011/08/carnival-season.html

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