This database contains a collection of Mandarin terms which have cultural, historical or sentimental value unique to Singapore. These terms may be used by Singaporeans in the past or at present. Some of the terms are read in print while others are used in our everyday conversations.
Food / Plants
A famous tropical fruit also known as the “King of Fruits”. Also known in Mandarin as “榴梿”.
The Mandarin term“榴梿” is a transliteration of the Malay term durian. The fruit is named after its outer shell which is full of thorns, otherwise known as duri in Malay.
The durian is native to Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo, and is an economically valuable fruit produced in Southeast Asia. The main exporters of durian include Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, who mainly export them to Singapore, Hong Kong, China and the United States.
The durian tree is a woody tree that can grow to a height of 40m. Its cultivation and production vary according to the climate.
The shell of the durian is spherical with hard thorns, while its flesh is milky white, or light yellow. The best kind of durian is one that has sweet flesh with just a hint of bitterness.
Durians have high nutritional value, containing carbohydrates, protein, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin C.
As durians have a very pungent smell, they are banned in various places in Singapore, such as hotels, public transportation, and shopping centers.
There are many varieties of durian, with up to 71 varieties produced in Indonesia alone.
If you are worried about becoming “heaty” after eating durian, you can eat fruits that are high in water content, such as mangosteen, pear or watermelon to help relieve the “heatiness” after consuming durian. (Lianhe Wanbao, 23/8/2014)
The scientific name of the durian is Durio zibethinus L..
The most popular varieties of durian produced in Malaysiainclude Mao Shan Wang, Black Pearl, Golden Phoenix, XO, D24, D13, D1, D101, Red Shrimp and Green Bamboo.
There has been a gradual shift towards using the Mandarin name “榴梿” rather than “榴莲” for durian, because the character “梿” better reflects its nature and characteristics as a plant, whereas the character “莲” does not have any direct connection to the King of Fruits.
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