Cathi compared a taste for asafoetida (also called hing, thanks!) with a taste
for durian. I had never heard of it and asked her about it privately, but she
had only read that it was a smelly fruit from Asia. I would guess our list
members in Singapore would know more, (as well as how to pronounce it) but I
actually found something on the web for anyone who was as terminally curious
as I am. Here is the website and a snipping from it.
http://www.asianexpat.com/enjoying/durian.htm (THE INFAMOUS DURIAN, KING OF
The durian is almost a cult item in SE Asia. It is a dangerous-looking
creature, about the size of a football and covered with sharp strong spikes.
They have in fact been used as weapons in some well-publicised cases here. You
would not want to mistakenly bump into one.
Fortunately, you are not likely to have a durian slipped onto your chair
without warning. You would have smelled it before it came within 100 meters of
you, for the fragrance of the durian is its most infamous feature. Its
overpowering odour and intoxicating taste make for a fruit that cannot be
ignored in Singapore.