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Durian, the king of fruits!

Durian, the king of fruits!

Durian, the king of fruits! From top clockwise: Raja Kunyit (Mao San Wong), Ang Huey (Red Flower in Hokkien) and Chap Sah (Thirteen in Hokkien).

Durian season is here again. Durian in Malaysia usually has 2 fruiting seasons, usually around June/July and December/January periods. Some only once a year.

Durians are highly prized fruit in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. They are also known as king of fruits. And for a good reason! Besides being nasty looking with their sharp thorny spikes they are also well known for their pungent smell that could suffocate you in an instant if you are within sniffing distance. That’s why they are banned from hotels, flights, subways and most tourist locations. They are the “baddest” fruit! Period.

The most innovative description of durian that I have seen so far: Shaped like a hedgehog and smells like compost!

If you are an addict to durian but are too afraid of the amount of carbohydrate and fat in the fruits, do check out this nutritional website and plan how much to consume in order not to burst your seams after a one night fling with this charming but notorious fella. It’s good to know that durian has zero cholesterol content but loaded with vitamin C and some amount of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. At the very least, you could justify your craving with good nutritional value and great taste, albeit some weight gain.

How to characterize the taste, texture and smell? The color of the flesh varies greatly, from white, off white, yellow, pinkish, orangy to red. There are probably a few hundred varieties available in the market ranging from the very best to the least likable. There are around 200 varieties that are registered as clones and given a number or names and a few hundreds more that are nameless but are highly sought after for their taste or texture. Some famous example are : D2, D24, Red Prawn, Raja Kunyit, etc… Most of the private durian orchard has their own specialty and if you are lucky, you could experience some truly unique flavor and taste. The texture of the best durian should be smooth, custardy and firm, very tiny or deformed seeds, no noticeable fiber upon eating and the best taste should be slightly bitter with sweet aftertaste.

The thick custardy flash of the durian usually wrapped the seed tightly and if you are careful, you could unwrapped the seed and expose the iside of the flesh. This is a photo of the most highly-prized durian of them all: the Raja Kunyit, which is also the best of the best and the most expensive of them all!

The thick custardy flesh of the durian usually wrapped the seed tightly and if you are careful, you could unwrap the seed and expose the inside of the flesh. This is a photo of the most highly-prized durian of them all: the Raja Kunyit, which is considered the best of the best and the most expensive of them all!

The most common variety of durian will have to be the D24. The D24 is usually the benchmark of which the other durian are graded. The best varieties of durian are mostly planted via grafting from the best durian trees. Therefore they are usually clones of the mother trees and usually the fruits they produced are exactly the same as the mother trees. Therefore the taste of D24 is similar when planted anywhere in Malaysia and the king of kings, the Raja Kunyit is also similar in taste and texture wherever you purchase them. The slight difference will have to be the water content, where sometimes you notice that some durian of the same varieties are drier or wetter in term of presentation. However the taste should still be the same unless the freshness could not be determined. The best durians are usually the freshest ones when they just dropped from the trees. Although some connoisseur prefer to age their durians for a few hours (or 1 day) to bring out the flavors (especially true for D24 variety) in them. Most durians can be kept for 3 to 4 days but their quality deteriorate after 1 or 2 days and they should be consumed immediately upon purchase. The best way to eat durian is to spend the day at the orchard but usually that is quite impossible. Therefore the best way for die-hard fans are to check with their nearest roadside durian sellers on the timing of their durians consignment arrival, usually 3 or 4 times daily for the most popular stalls.

Prices of durians differ greatly depending on the geographic locations, varieties and seasons. As a rule of thumb for direct from farm pricing, you could probably purchase the “Durian Kampung” or “Village Durian” at around 1 to 2 Ringgit per kg; clones like D24, D101, Red Prawn, etc at around 3 to 5 Ringgit per kg and Raja Kunyit (aka Mao San Wong) at around 10 to 22 Ringgit per kg. Of course, the consumer pricing will depend on the timing, seasons and the varieties. Happy durian season everyone!

All durians varieties featured in this blog can be obtained from here.

Comments

  1. Perfect!

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