It's the most desirable time of the year again in Asia. If you're wondering, "how so?" Well, it’s because the much loved and reminisced durian season is here! Do you know that durians are almost labelled as vegetables when harvested ahead of time because of their tough flesh and the fact that they're easier to handle? Oh! And bitter (yikes)! But the keyword is "almost". However, let's be honest, if you love durians, it is when they are organised as over-ripped fruits and loaded with their eminent citrus and sweet essences.
Image from Canva
Despite their fabulousness, they are also known for their pungent odour when ripe. This makes durians undesirable to some. Did you know that they are banned from some public places and mass transit in Singapore? Anyway, those who have yet to try them don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s like how people hate pineapples on pizza until they’ve tried it. Only then you’ll have the liberty to say whether you hate or love it.
Allow me to share a quote by —Monica Tan, The Guardian Journalist:
“You will either be overcome, seduced by its powerful, declarative presence, or reject it outright. And run screaming."
HOW ARE DURIANS PRODUCED?
According to Singapore Infopedia, it takes durian trees between five and seven years to reach maturity. And they can bear fruits twice yearly. In the time that they are in bloom, flowers are pollinated and then dropped off. The fruit that shares many appearance-based similarities with jackfruits then takes around 90 days to ripen before collapsing and parting. Typically, durians are of the highest quality when the trees are between 30 and 60 years old. Basically, the older the tree is, the better the fruit tastes.
There are over 100 varieties of this legendary fruit. Among so many durians, do you have any clue on which ones are the popular ones? Or which ones are the sweetest? Fret not, in this blog, we have put together the 9 popular types of durians (that are also my personal favourites) and how to choose them.
MAO SHAN WANG
Durian lovers should know about Mao Shan Wang (MSW) that comes from Pahang, Malaysia. It’s indisputably the most popular on the island. It even came in first place in Best in Singapore’s blog on the 10 best types of durians in Singapore (2021). As zealous fans of durians, we can assure you that out of the many varieties, MSW still remains the best type of durian (and my grumbling tummy signals its agreement).
The flesh of MSW durians is exceptionally velvety (and can be considered milky, for some), bringing out the flavour of its sophisticated, acquired but solid taste. In other words, it's heavenly. MSW durians are the definition of bittersweet fruits. The best part is that they have relatively small seed(s), so you can rest assured that you'll get to have a good amount of meat.
This unusually flavoured combination of durians can be further broken down into a few types. Still, we’ll be focusing on the 2 most prominent ones. Black Gold MSW durian and Premium MSW durian.
Let us start with the classic Premium MSW durian. They stay true to the ‘Premium’ in their name by tasting creamier, more prosperous and butterier than the other durians. They have delicate, meaty seeds that dissolve into a paradise of robust and rich flavour when you grab a bite of their soft flesh.
And allow us to tell you something, the Premium MSW durians are filled with the most fragrant taste and creamiest texture. We’d also like to warn you about scammers who sell fake Premium MSW as the real thing for money. So, let us give you an essential guide on how to identify the real MSW.
Image by Online Friday
As you can see from this picture, real MSW durians would have a distinct starfish-like pattern on their base. Every tip of the star shoots up into perpendicular lines that go up the durian. The portion covered by the star is also stark from the spikes and is instead flat. Pro tip: other durians may have a star-like pattern on their bases, but none of them is as unprecedented as MSW’s.
Also, the spikes on the MSW durians are not heavily populated. The form resembles a mountain and seems more three-dimensional. It’s trickier to get this one right, so you might want to stick with the star-like pattern to better your chances of picking the real MSW.
Next, we have the Black Gold MSW durians. We know that you don’t know us personally but trust me when we say that Black Gold durian is practically the royal family of durians. Black Gold MSW is presented with a slate greyish outer surface and green seams, garnished with intense, bitter, and intricate gusto with an aromatic and alluring (for most) fragrance.
Take a bite of it, and its silky custard consistency will have you gobbling down the meat from its seeds. Some would even dare think of the Black Gold as the crème de la crème of MSW. And all we know is that we can’t stop eating this durian.
As before, online scammers might sell fake versions of this too! So, you might want to note the colour of its seams and its flavours before setting off on a road trip to the land of durians.
There's a common misconception that the XO D24 and D24 (we'll be talking about this one later) durians are the same. But did you know that the XO D24 is NOT the same as the D24? It's a premium version of the D24, with regards to its age and origin?
XO D24 is the durian for those who enjoy intense and bitter-tasting fruits. A more accurate description of its taste would be bitter, reminiscent of alcohol, as it was developed by being fermented inside its shell for a long time. In comparison to other varieties, this breed tends to produce smaller fruits that have watery flesh. XO D24 durians also have a pungent smell, unique to this variety (you are still required to pick a good durian for the scent). They are particularly delicate due to their watery texture.
Image by ieatishootipost
In general, XO D24 durians are oval or round in shape. Unlike the MSW, the base of this breed contains a depression in the centre, resembling a star. Dark green is its predominant base colour, followed by brownish tips. The length of its thorns is relatively thin and long, with brown tips.
Finally, we have the Premium Golden Phoenix Durian that originated for Pahang, Johor. We’d recommend the Golden Phoenix for our confidantes out there who don’t prefer sweet condiments. It is a fact that durians are expensive. Suppose you want one with a quality-price ratio and gratifies a satisfying amount of palatable meat at an affordable price. In that case, this is the breed you’d like to pick.
Although there is an absence of sweetness, it carries a unique taste. As you can see from the gratifying visual attached above, it is coated with pale-coloured yellow flesh and a thin husk. When you break open into it and take a couple of bites, you’d be able to find tiny seeds that had initially been coated by the durian’s flesh.
Moreover, you’ll taste the intense flavour it’s loaded with, along with its sleek and lush texture. However, the Golden Phoenix requires its consumer to have more of an acquired taste. So, if you intend on trying durians for the first time, you might want to ease up on this one.
WTS travel used to organise durian tours to Malaysia. However, we have adapted ourselves to the pandemic situation by bringing in the finest durians from Malaysia for residents to purchase.
Moreover, we were recently featured in a Straits Times news article for our venture and are proud to guarantee the best tasting durians (check out our customers' reviews if you are hesitant to believe us)! So there's no need for our consumers to feel like they are missing out on their routine durian trips.
We sell our durians on our successful e-commerce platform, PinGo. It is always here to bring the MSW and XO D24 durians to you wherever you are in Singapore with a steadfast assurance of their freshness before receiving them. Moreover, the weather for the ensuing months is likely to be pleasant, which in turn will provide a plentiful supply of quality durians with tiny seeds (more meat)! So, that's good news.
Image via goduree
Newbies should be familiar with the D24 durian. This breed is from Pahang, Malaysia. As the flavours are less pronounced, you could eat them for a long time without getting nauseous. The flesh is exceptionally thick and creamy with a tangy flavour that tastes somewhat like custard. A reliable characteristic is that they do not have an overly bitter nor overly sweet palate.
You may wonder, "How would I be able to distinguish a real D24?" Fret not. As you can see from the picture above, this breed's shells are homogeneously green with gathered spikes. Furthermore, they have a reasonably short stem encircled by a brown mini circle at the base, which might require a good pair of glasses or 20/20 vision (welp!)
Image by Bryan via Best In Singapore
Here, we have the D101 durian from Johor, Malaysia. During last year’s durian season, we developed a humble liking for this breed. With a sour twist, the D101 blends mildly sweet and buttery notes with a tinge of sourness. Indeed, a classic favourite for many durian fans and children whose preference lies in sweet durians.
Just have an open mind when you’re on a hunt for D101 Durians, as their seeds vary in size and shape. So, you may or may not get a mouthful of flesh at times.
Image by Carol Ong via YouTrip
Then, we have the Tekka durian from Pahang, Malaysia. This cultivar is widely grown in Pahang and some parts of Johor. And we know what you’re thinking and, we agree. It looks unappealing, out of shape and unripe, perhaps? Well, that’s why they say don’t judge a book by its cover. Do you know that this unattractive durian described as the Queen of durian at times? It is dominated by complex sweetness and floral and bitter notes (truly salubrious).
You should also make sure you get an excellent wholesome Tekka. One that isn't filled with seeds. And don't neglect its unique feature. The middle of the durian is characterised by a ridge or valley, which makes opening it tricky. So, we beg you to not get an imperfect/wrong one during a bad season and slander this breed.
Image by Carol Ong via YouTrip
Subsequently, there is the D1 durian from Johor, Malaysia. Typically, they are long and slender, with a thin coating of mint green. Their meat appears as a soft, cream-coloured yellow with fibres and creamy texture, but they are slightly bitter. Besides, the seeds are tiny too! This species is ideal for first-time eaters and people who enjoy durians with a dry texture.
Image by Bryan via Best In Singapore
Finally! This one is our personal favourite. The Red Prawn durian. Perfect for those with a craving for sweet condiments. Breeders prize their seeds because they produce flesh that can only be described as creamy and smooth. And that’s not even the best part! This variety’s meat does not have any fibres!
According to Speciality Produce, Red Prawns are fermented with hints of red wine, berries, and chocolate (cue me fangirling). The flesh delivers a sugary, fruity, yet subtly bitter sensation. Once again, you don’t want to get scammed, so be sure to look out for the red prawn’s oval shape and more expansive centre with a gloomy brown shell. If you aspire to be a detective, attempt to look out for their short and widely spaced thorns too!
A little disclaimer: the younger Red Prawn durian trees generate more luscious fruits compared to bitter ones produced by the older trees.
Due to their high natural potassium, dietary fibre, iron, and vitamins B and C contents, durians are naturally beneficial. Therefore, the king of fruits is optimal for cardiovascular health and muscle function, gastrointestinal health, and skin wellness. Additionally, it improves the formation of red blood cells and boosts the nervous and immune systems.
Moreover, recent research suggests that their high carbohydrate levels might aid in restoring insufficient energy levels significantly fast (in healthy individuals). Potassium is also present in the fruit. It is known for its ability as a natural stimulant and eases mental tension.
More facts (and myths) about durians can be found on Healthxchange.
ENJOY QUALITY DURIANS, ESPECIALLY FROM JUNE TO SEPTEMBER (DURIAN THE SEASON)
From MSW to Red Prawn, we hope our list of the best breed of durians in Singapore has made you drool. Are you reading this blog when it's off durian season and is suddenly craving for it? Check out our Durian Mochi to satisfy your durian craving at any time of the year.
Or, if you want ice creams but prefer something that is more frozen that you'd be able to taste the creamy goodness at each bite, we have the Durian Gelato Ice Cream. New year treats even though we still have 5 months left? We've got you covered with our Handmade Love Letter. Craving for some overseas native food? Get our Durian Flavoured Kueh Lapis that are freshly delivered from Batam.
Try these, and we assure you that you’d be mesmerised.
Hope you enjoy our recommendations (especially those that are sold by us)! Till next time!