As a solid tradition, I like to try extremely foreign food whenever I’m in a new country for the experience of it. When I landed in Singapore, the first cafe that caught my eye was the uncanny Double Durian Cafe. Famous for its durian pizza and flavored pastries, this cafe has gained quite a reputation. Situated close to the City Square Market and my Spacepod Hostel, I figured this would be the perfect place to stop for an unforgettable first meal and to see what the craze about durian is all about.
The durian, arguably the most smelly fruit in the world, is widely sold in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and other tropical Asian countries. It is often used as an ingredient in cooking, featured in flavored desserts like durian ice cream, or sold as a whole at the market for those daring enough to eat it raw. Due to its extremely potent smell, which some have described as smelling like gym socks or fruity onions, it is banned from certain hotels and airports. Because of its infamous reputation, the fruit has become somewhat of a meme, and its spiky exterior made it an actual weapon in the Battle of Matchan. Even upon thorough research, the fruit is quite the enigma to those of us who grew up in the west.
In Exploring the Nutritional Contents and Benefits of Durian, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lists the following benefits from eating durian:
“Durian is widely celebrated for its long list of health benefits, which include the ability to boost immune system, prevent cancer and inhibit free radical activity, improve digestion, strengthen bones, improve signs of anaemia, prevent premature aging, lower blood pressure, and protect against cardiovascular diseases.”
As you can see, the durian is quite the versatile fruit which led me to trying this cafe. I decided to order the famous durian pizza and cake to see what they were really like. The cake wasn’t as sweet as I was used to, but it had an extremely unique texture and I really enjoyed the spiky green frosting! The taste of durian was very subtle, so I would recommend trying a durian dessert before trying the extremely potent fruit itself. One cake is the perfect size for one person.
Though covered in cheese and prepared with a western style of cooking, the pizza was definitely overpowering to me. The pieces of durian were quite large and visible, and the taste was extremely noticeable despite the other toppings since there was no sauce included in this recipe (it was basically cheesy durian bread). If they minced up the durian and added sauce, I think it would taste a lot better to me. I would only recommend trying this if you are extremely brave or interested in unique durian cuisine, because this is definitely a challenge.
Whether you use durian as a pizza topping or a weapon of self-defense, I would recommend trying it at least once if you are ever in an Asian country!