Durians are known as the king of fruits. From its undeniably distinct and pungent scent, you would be able to tell its presence even from far away. Many people love it, while others are not much of a fan. Either way, the durian season has arrived, and it's calling for all durian lovers! There are many types and names common to Singapore, Malaysia and the rest of SouthEast Asia, so here we've compiled a list of the best types of durians and what they taste like so you know what to splurge on this season. 😉
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P.s Not sure where to buy durians? Check out 8 Best Places To Buy Durian Musang King In Kuala Lumpur And Selangor
1. Musang King / Mao Shan Wang
A favourite of many, the Musang King, also known as Mao Shan Wang, tastes the creamiest of all durians - which is why it's so popular! 🤤The bright yellow flesh is smooth and is almost too easy to eat (you could polish off a whole durian with how easily it slides off the seed)! The rich creaminess is followed by a bittersweet aftertaste, perfectly balancing the sweetness.
Its Chinese name - Mao Shan Wang - literally translates to (civet) Cat Mountain King. Many have speculated the durian's name came about because the civet cats enjoyed eating the durian fruit. However, the durian was named after its place of origin, Gua Musang in Malaysia, a mountain on which lived many civet cats – and so a cat mountain or Mao Shan Wang!
Price: From $20/per kg | From RM58/per kg
Another popular and well-loved durian throughout SouthEast Asia is the D24 durian. Before Mao Shan Wang's rise to fame, there was a time when D24 was highly sought after. It has a slightly less overpowering flavour, so you can eat it for a long time without getting tired of it, which is why it's perfect for beginners to the durian game. 🤗 If you're hesitant or unsure where to start when it comes to durians, D24 is a great choice!
The texture is similar to that of the Mao Shan Wang, and even though they are alike, there are many differences - the D24 has a thick and creamy texture with a subtle bittersweet flavour. The outer shell is yellow-green, easily identified by a brown ring on the lower half of its stem.
Price: From $14/per kg | From RM36/per kg
3. Black pearl / Hei Zhen Zhu
Black pearl, also known as Hei Zhen Zhu, has a pale yellowish greyish colour and relatively smaller seeds compared to other durians. It is native to Johor and has a milky but slightly bitter taste. Because of its petite size, the Black Pearl is perfect for those who love durians but want to enjoy them in smaller amounts. It's also more expensive than others because it is considered a rare durian type. Still, it has fewer fibres than the typical durian, making it more enjoyable and easier to eat.
Price: From $15/per kg | RM46/per kg
4. Red prawn
Red Prawn durians are of a smaller variety with blunt edges and an oval to oblong shape. It's hard to miss due to its pale brown shell and lavender and grey overtones and deep orange flesh. Known for its subtle bitter flavour and the melt-in-your mouth texture, Red Prawn durians are a favourite among durian connoisseurs. It also has a berry-like taste, something unique to durians as a whole. And although they are popular, they are incredibly fragile and cannot be shipped, which is why it can be rare to come across one.
Red Prawn durians are native to Penang, Malaysia, and the mother tree was believed to have been grown by a farmer named Mr Loh in Pondol Upeh in the 19th century. It caught the attention of a man who had been grafting durian trees since he was young. Inspired by the variety and taste, the man spent 25 years grafting the perfect Red Prawn durian tree before entering the 1989 Durian & Fruit festival. The Red Prawn won first place and was introduced to the rest of Malaysia, where it won many hearts too! 😃
Price: From $23/per kg | RM40/per kg
P.s If you love durians, then you'll love durian dessert too! Why not learn how to make simple durian crepes at home?
6. Golden Phoenix / Jin Feng
Another favourite amongst durian lovers, the Golden Phoenix or Jin Feng, has a pale yellow colour to its flesh and a pungent floral-like smell. 😅And the flesh is thick, juicy and has an almost watery consistency, different from the other types of durians. But even though it looks pretty innocent, the Golden Phoenix has a strong and complex taste. Because the seeds are smaller than average, you'll get more meat for your money!
The Golden Phoenix is an older durian variation with its Chinese name Jin Feng meaning "Golden Lady". This durian is very small and can easily fit into the palm of your hand.
Price: From $22/per kg | From RM58/per kg
7. Black Gold
If we've been going easy on the durian lovers in this article, that was just the warm up because the Black Gold was created for old-time durian fans! 😎Recently, sellers have started differentiating between Musang King/Mao Shan Wang durian varieties. Therefore, we're sure you've heard of the "Black Gold" which are Mao Shan Wang durians from old durian trees. As a result, if a durian tree is mature, you should expect its fruit's flesh to have dark greyish green seams, a sign that it will produce a deep, bitter flavour with a complex aroma that is (in some people's eyes) repulsive. However, for seasoned durian eaters, this should not be a deterrence but more of an exciting experience. The unconventional durian taste is not one that many would appreciate but it's worth a try!
Price: From $23/per kg | From RM66/per kg
Small in size but definitely packs a punch! The XO is only palm-sized, but due to the fermentation within its husk, the durian it produces tastes strong and has a pungent yeast smell. It's a step up for D24 lovers looking for a different variation and intensity of flavour. But, the XO durian's flesh is still as creamy (or maybe even more) and smooth as the D24's, so you might not think it tastes any different. Found more commonly in Malaysia in colder climates like Genting, it's a relatively harder find for anyone living down South!
Price: From $14/per kg | From RM44/per kg
The D101 durian is creamy with a bittersweet taste. Many enthusiasts would say the taste is between XO and Red Prawn! The durian is a unique orange-yellow colour with a substantial and elongated shape. Despite its thick, creamy flesh, the D101 durian isn't wet. Under ideal conditions, they have a custard-like texture. Durian lovers on a budget can enjoy the D101 as it offers similar flavour characteristics as Mao Shan Wang but is more affordable! 😁
However, being affordable doesn't mean it's of lower quality! They are an excellent alternative to Mao Shan Wang as they are known to be slightly bitter but with no sour aftertaste.
Price: $15/per kg | RM47/per kg
Its pale colour and uneven shapes may not look too appealing; however, true durian fans know that the Tekka is a must-try durian. 😜For those who have tried it, Tekka's complex sweet, floral, and bitter tastes make it one of the most sought-after variants! It's a unique take to durians with its combination of flavours that you can't find with other durians. The impressive variety of flavours is not commonly found in durians and is worth trying!
Price: $20/per kg | RM60/per kg
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Anyone who loves durians knows that the durian season is a serious time! Whether you're trying to eat as many durians as possible or simply get a taste of the fruit in its prime, you should definitely make the most of this season. Make sure you know your durians to get your money's worth!