Durian is one of the most sought-after fruits in Southeast Asia. Some hardcore durian lovers even don’t mind paying high prices for some durian cultivars or clones with very good quality. This culture has encouraged new varieties with better agronomic traits like taste, texture, colour, smell, etc. are being bred. With the new durian types, the prices of durian are pushed to record high in this few years according to their popularity.
In Malaysia, the development of varieties of durian is governance by Department of Agriculture (DOA) under New Plant Varieties Act 2004. As of to-date, more than 200 varieties of durian were registered with the DOA. Most cultivars have a common name and a code number starting with “D.” Some of them are as below:
1. Sultan - Code No: D24
2. Cha Nee (Thailand) - Code No: D123
3. Kan Yao (Thailand) - Code No: D158
4. Golden Pillow (Thailand) - Code No: D159
5. Green Bamboo/Teka - Code No: D160
6. Labu / Horlor - Code No: D163
7. Red Flesh - Code No: D164
8. 101/Muar Gold - Code No: D168
9. Red Prawn / Udang Merah - Code No: D175
10. Musang King / Raja Kunyit - Code No: D197
11. Kim Hong - Code No: D198
12. Black Thorn - Code No: D200
The differences between durian varieties have contributed much fun and excitement to durian lovers to enjoy the fruit. To them, each durian is unique, no two durians will be alike even coming from same tree. It creates never-ending adventure to discover new variations of flavor, aroma and texture found in different durian cultivars, from one fruit to another. Most of durian lovers have their preference as well, whereas some prefer durians with strong aroma and bitter taste, while others may prefer milder aroma with sweeter taste durians.
Some of the “Must Try” Durian Varieties
- Musang King or Mau Shan Wang @ Cat Mountain King
Musang King is the most popular durian type in Malaysia. Commonly known as Mao Shan Wang or Raja Kunyit. This variety is regarded as the premium durian and cost way more than the ordinary ‘kampung’ durian.
The fruit has a slightly oval shape similar to a rugby ball as well as a star-like pattern at the bottom.. Musang King durian has thick, golden-yellow flesh that tastes sweet with just a hint of bitterness in it. The texture is custard-like and extremely creamy.
- Green Bamboo / Tekka@Teka
Teka, also known as “Musang Queen” is another “hot seller” cultivar in most durian stalls. The fruit is large, green and rough. The large aril has thick, firm, brownish-yellow, creamy bitter flesh of excellent quality. If you love bitter durian that isn’t dry, then Tekka would be perfect for you.
- Black Thorn
Black Thorn durian is quite rare to find and only a handful of durian stalls that offer this variant. This durian is quite unique with softer, smoother, and aromatic flesh. The closest comparison is probably Red Prawn, although Black Thorn is a bit firmer and sweeter. The reason it is called Black Thorn because there is a small black ‘tail’ at the bottom of the durian.
- Red Prawn
The fruit is fairly large with brown green rind and small spines. The flesh is creamy sweet, thick, soft, fine and yellow. Why it is called Red Prawn is the flesh is orangey reddish colour (usually yellowish orange color). The Red Prawn durian is one of the favorite durian types in Malaysia.
This variety is said to have a strong bitter taste just like the alcohol. It is pretty small in size and round in shape. The flesh in pale yellow colour is bitter and extremely soft. The dryness and heavenly bitterness hits you immediately when it’s in your mouth. The XO durian is surely a must-try for bitter durian lovers who want to veer away from the more popular Musang King. Those looking for bitter durian should also seek the XO variant from older trees.
- D24 or Sultan
D24 Durian is common durian and you can find them in most durian stalls. It is considered one of the most affordable durians with pretty good taste. The flesh is pale yellow, it comes with sweet and nutty with a slightly bitter taste. A deeper color tone will indicate a nicer taste (bitter-sweet). Nice creamy yellow tends to be less bitter (maybe sweeter).