Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Ask anyone who sells durian, and they will tell you that you must have a death wish if you combine eating durians and alcohol.

Durian seller James Tan, who has been hawking durians for over 10 years, said that the combination can cause death, especially when the fruit is consumed with hard liquor.

“Everyone who sells durians knows this. Can die leh,” he said in Mandarin. When asked if he has ever eaten them together, Mr Tan said: “I don’t think I’ll be speaking to you if I did.”

Durian lovers may have also heard of this taboo.

But has there been any research in this area? Well depends on who you speak to.

If you check with a western educated dietitian, they will tell you that such concerns are unfounded. Ms Nehal Kamdar, a dietitian at Raffles Hospital said “Some scientific studies have actually been conducted to investigate the validity of this belief, but at this point, it is fair to say that the consumption of durian with alcohol has not shown to be harmful”.

“The durian is one of the few fruits that has a high fat content so it should be eaten in moderation. People with diabetes and those who are watching their weight should also avoid durians,” she advised.

And if speak to a traditional medicine man, like mr Tan, a physician with the Eu Yang Sang clinic, the answer is somewhat different. He said although the combination is unlikely to cause death, there is some basis to the belief that durians should not be consumed with alcohol. He explained that this was because the strong-smelling, high-caloried fruit, which is rich in carbohydrates, protein and fat, contains “heaty” properties. So does alcohol.

“Consuming them together may result in excessive ‘heatiness’. When the body takes in these ‘heaty’ foods, some people may experience symptoms such as a dry throat, a sore throat and a dry cough,” said Mr Tan.
Other symptoms caused by excessive heatiness include headaches and nausea.

Mr Tan added that durians also contain high levels of potassium, so those with kidney and heart conditions should also exercise caution when consuming the fruit.

So finally after reading this , I still do not have an answer. So as my grandma always said, old wife’s tale does carry some weight. So I will follow my grandma’s advice and play it safe. Cheers.

Extract from can/todat/ar

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