Lip-synching, jogging and samosas. Do you know what all of these things have in common? Though seemingly innocuous, each one has been outlawed somewhere in the world.
In some cases, these bans were instituted very reasonably, in response to political unrest, to preserve health and public safety, or to honor religious doctrine. But there are also a surprising number of things — including, yes, gold teeth, sandcastles and the honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh — that have been banned without legal justification, often due to the machinations of a power-drunk dictator.
If you’re keen to learn the why behind some of the most bizarre items and activities ever banned, keep reading.
Popular in South East Asia, the durian fruit has the round shape of a large cantaloupe, and its outer shell is covered with thick stubs that are reminiscent of porcupine skin. But beyond its odd physical appearance, what people tend to remember about the durian fruit is its foul and pungent odor.
When the late Anthony Bourdain was asked to describe the smell and taste of durian fruit, he said it’s “indescribable, something you will either love or despise…Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”
Food writer Richard Sterling has also described it in less-than-glowing terms, once comparing it to “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.”
The smell is so bad that Singapore has banned the fruit from mass transit, and some taxi drivers will refuse to pick up passengers in possession of it.
However, despite its stinky reputation, durian is used heavily in South East Asian cooking, and some believe the fruit can tame fevers and serve as an aphrodisiac.