Friday, April 09, 2004

City's market bans 'viagra fruit'

By Emma Race

An exotic fruit, used as an aphrodisiac by people all over the world, has been banned from Coventry market.
But it’s not the fruit’s reputation as the natural world’s equivalent of Viagara which has bothered traders - it’s the smell.
Stallholders said the pong from the durian fruit was making them feel ill.
Vicki Hamilton, who runs Hamilton’s fruit and veg stall with her husband Eric, says the bizarre fruit drew huge crowds to her stall when she sold it last year.
The giant fruit comes into its six month season next month - but Vicki has been told she shouldn’t stock durian this year.
Stallholders got together a petition against the £20 fruit which persuaded Vicki, 49, to ditch plans to sell it to excited punters again.
The durain, known in South East Asia as the king of fruits, came from wholesalers in Birmingham.
Vicki said: “I fancied trying to sell something different as the market is so multicultural and I have a lot of regular customers from Asia and the Philippines.
“Then I was handed the petition. Some traders had complained and the petition said a pregnant lady had been sick at the smell.”
Vicki said: “I honestly don’t think it smells that bad. Different people seem to smell different things.
“The most common one is it smells of gas, then of rotting onions or of really smelly cheese or feet.
“In South East Asia people aren’t allowed durian in hotels or on buses.”
But despite this downside, its powers as an aphrodisiac and the unusual “warming sensation” eating large quantities can provide, guarantees its popularity.
The internet is full of websites dedicated to singing the praises of the durian which grows in jungle rainforests and is a native of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Vicki said: “In markets in London and Birmingham durian is sold with bows round them like an Easter egg.
“Jamie Oliver did a recipe with one on television recently.
“A lot of ladies come and buy durian to make special meals for their husbands.”
Rupert Stephenson, of Stephenson’s Fishmonger Stall, said: “It’s not an unnatural smell but it is very strong.
“The market took positive steps to rectify the complaints and came to an amicable agreement with all concerned.”

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"