Durian-themed cafe getswinning combination

Durian-themed cafe getswinning combination

A Singapore eatery centred around the pungent tropical  fruit  durian  has caught a whiff of success as patrons flock to the cafe in droves for a bite of its exotic offerings.
The spiky  fruit  long regarded as a delicacy in Southeast Asia has left a divisive trail -- you either love it or hate it -- and its odour means it is banned in most hotels and metro trains.

Detractors often describe its intense smell as a mix of gym socks and onions, while enthusiasts liken the creamy texture and intense aroma to blue cheese.

While the bittersweet  fruit  is usually eaten on its own or as dessert, the Mao Shan Wang cafe in Singapore's Chinatown district has a special menu with  durian  in all dishes, even savoury ones.

Customers can opt for chicken nuggets with a  durian  dip, pizza topped with  durian  flesh, fries with a side of  durian  sauce, all washed down with coffee --  durian  infused, of course.

"Durian  is (usually) eaten by itself and as sweets or treats, but what our company wanted to do was put it with savoury stuff like fries and nuggets," company spokesman Lance Lee said.

"We will be looking to expand the offerings as well, with maybe rice, pasta and other things."

Mao Shan Wang, Chinese for Cat Mountain King, refers to a strain of  durian  from Kelantan state in neighbouring Malaysia distinguished by its bittersweet taste and small seeds.

During the weekend afternoons, business is brisk.

While many opted for  durian  ice cream to beat the muggy tropical heat, the more adventurous customers, most of them tourists, were seen trying the strong-smelling  fruit  -- while wearing gloves.

Many were also waiting in line to buy  durian-flavoured confectionery, and even freshly cut up  fruit  conveniently sealed in vacuum packs for their plane journey.

American tourist Michael Capps, who had been trying fresh  durian  straight from the husk, said he was a convert.

"It's hard to explain the taste to it, but it actually has like a sweet taste to it and it's very good."

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