So the Balestier Food Centre has finally reopened to little fanfare. my wife and I went to check it out earlier this week, and we found it’s being run by the Banquet people (which largely means no pork anything there, though we have yet to verify that).
My first impression of the place was laid upon me when this stocky gruff-looking man in a slightly dirty white t-shirt comes up to my wife and I asking if we want to try the durian puffs he was selling (this happens to be the first stall you will encounter when walking into the new food centre, a branch of 717 Trading, specialising in durian confectionery and other cakes and pastries). He then goes on to say, “I call these durian puffs vampire puffs, you want to know why? Because on first bite, the puff will drool into your mouth like … mmmm …” and then he was cut off by my wife’s uncontrollable laughter.
No doubt this was good stuff, but before I got down to dessert, I wanted to get through lunch first. So I told the vampire puff man, “We’ll come back. It’s too bright for vampires to be around anyway.” Upon hearing my indiscriminate generalisation of the vampire species, Uncle Durian Puff went on to add, “No, no! I only cater to Daywalkers,” prompting another interruption by my wife’s uncontrollable laughter. We started walking away from the stall, bemused and bewildered, as Uncle Durian Puff called after us, “You come back and buy now, ya?” (almost reminiscent of our Chinatown incident, actually).
Okay, that was not the weird thing. THIS is the weird thing. During lunch, we were constantly reminded of Uncle Durian Puff’s existence in this food centre. After I started tucking into my carrot cake lunch, I almost spat out my first bite when I felt a slight brush of air behind me, turned around and saw Uncle Durian Puff’s face saying to me, “I know where you sit now…”
… and then halfway through our meal, he came back again, this time tapping me on my shoulder and shaking a finger at me with a smile…
… and then towards the end of our meal, he was behind me once again, this time apologising if he seemed to be disturbing us…
If not for the fact that I was genuinely interested in the durian puffs he had to offer, I would have bolted from lunch and ran back to office to pray for Buddha’s blessings. No, Uncle Durian Puff, I don’t think “disturbing us” is the correct phrase to use. “Stalking us” would be more appropriate.
At any rate, we decided to head back to the durian confectionery stall to see if the vampire puffs were really all that bloody good (pun intended). We bought a box, and tried to sneak off while uncle Durian Puff was out of sight, but as we turned around, there he was, staring up at us (he was a bit short), asking us if we wanted to try his vampire puffs.
We raised our plastic bag containing the 6 little puffs we had purchased to his eye level, signifying that we had purchased said durian puffs, thank you very much, please don’t follow us home. He then looked at the bag for an instant and said, “But I just want you to try, I never asked you to buy!”
To the benefit of Uncle Durian Puff, as creepy as his appearances were during the course of our lunch hour, his durian puffs really are quite fantastic. On our way back to office, we opened up the box of puffs and each popped one into our mouths. The moment the puffs started “drooling into our mouths”, we stopped dead in our tracks. It’s just one of those things that can only be described as an “oral orgasm”. I wouldn’t say they could be described as vampire puffs, though.
Note: After doing a search on the Balestier Food Centre