A fruit that smells like itself

“I like fruit that smells like itself and not like something else” declared SC while cutting into some deliciously decadent milk tea roll from Yoku Moku.

“What does that mean exactly?” I asked my friend who was butchering the roll because the steel knife was a little too small.

“I just prefer fruit that smell and taste the same as how they visually appear… and are less pungent, you know” SC said grimly, examining his handiwork before offering up a grin as he served me a piece.

“Ok, so you don’t like durian. What other fruits fall into that category?” I was finding this very interesting indeed… the smell of fruits is indeed usually a subtle affair, made more so that these days, fruits are often sold packed in plastic, picked before they are ripe, or are genetically selected for other traits, scent not being one of them.

“Well… like mango for example. It doesn’t smell good to me.”

Really?! Delicious creamy mango, a fruit that has been marketed to represent the tropics and used almost as ubiquitously in equatorial cocktail drinks as the coconut?

“Err… what do you think mango smells like?” Probing… probing…

“Durian to me smells like cheesy feet, mango to me smells like raw sewage” he spat out. This description opened my eyes. Literally. I’ve never heard of mango described as smelling like raw sewage. Durian has been described by many using lots of nasty adjectives but mango to most South East Asians is sweet and fragrant(for example Thai and Philippino cuisine would be far drearier without it). How can our perceptions be so astoundingly different?

SC is a wine connoisseur, he has a sensitive nose and palate, able to distinguish the very flavours and “hint” components that make up the aroma of each wine. I’m assuming he’s very sensitive to sulphur and esters that are natural components in fruit, but perhaps are in greater concentrations in mango (and durian).

What does he like?

Grapes, strawberries, melon, peach, cherries, apples, pears, all citrus fruits. Not hot on banana, mango, jackfruit, durian. Got it.

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