Last Updated: July 17, 2020
It’s a pity we don’t get to enjoy the four seasons here in Singapore. But lucky for us living in this part of the continent, we do have a season that is specially catered to the foodie in us—the durian season.
The king of fruits definitely had us divided into two camps; you either love it or hate it. However, with all the unique durian-based desserts making their appearance between the months of June and September, it is no surprise that many haters are now fans of this controversial fruit.
Even as a long-time durian lover, I still find myself at a loss whenever I head to a durian stall for my durian fixes. Often, I would just leave it to the hands of the masters to pick my Mao Shan Wang and D24.
Now, especially since most of us are still refraining ourselves from dining out and are seeking durian deliveries as the next most convenient option, we ought to learn a little more about this fruit to sniff out the best. As such, we’ve collated eight types of durians which you can find in Singapore and some pro tips for choosing the right one to bring home this thorny season!
Known to be the richest and best-tasting durian ever bred, Mao Shan Wang is one of the most popular variety originated from Kelantan and Pahang. This breed of durian is light green in colour with triangular-shaped thorns and can be distinguished by its bald star patch found at the base of the fruit.
Also known to durian lovers as ‘butter durian’, Mao Shan Wang is well-loved by many for its butter-like creamy texture. Bright yellow in colour, the flesh of Mao Shan Wang contains a mixture of bittersweet notes which many are deeply fond of.
Price: From S$18/kg
Grown mostly in Johor and Pahang, Red Prawn derived its name from the distinct orange-red hue of its flesh. Greenish-brown in colour, the fruit is elongated in shape and has short, thick thorns. As the shell of the Red Prawn is thick due to its wide core, there might not be as much flesh as compared to other species.
Perfect for sweet durian lovers, Red Prawn is sweeter and stickier than most durians. It’s taste however is also dependent on the age of the durian tree. A younger tree tends to produce a sweeter fruit whilst an older tree produces a bitter-sweet tasting fruit.
Price: From S$12/kg
Also known as the Sultan durian, D24 was the most highly sought after type of durian before Mao Shan Wang was introduced. This variety is often grown in Johor and Cameron Highlands and can be distinguished by its short stem as well as a brown-coloured ring that is found around the bottom of the stem.
As D24 taste less overwhelming with its a subtle balance of sweetness and bitterness, it is the ideal species to choose if you are planning to introduce this pungent fruit to a first-timer. The durian flesh is beautifully golden in colour and its smooth creamy texture is one that will get you addicted onto after your first bite.
Price: From S$16/kg
Round or oval in shape, XO is a variety that can be found mostly in the area of Johor, Genting and Cameron Highlands. The husk of the fruit is greenish-brown in colour and the thorns are usually pointed inwards at the base of the fruit.
This breed of durian is cultivated through an extended period of fermentation in the shell, therefore, earning it the name of XO due to its strong “alcoholic” taste. Not your typical sweet durian, XO is extremely soft and slightly watery and has an intense bitterness that might be too piquant for some.
Price: From S$16/kg
Identified by its sharp needle-like thorns and round shape, Golden Phoneix is one of the smallest durians that can be commonly found in Pahang and Johor.
Despite its small size, this durian has a large attitude with its strong pungent smell. Along with its watery pale yellow-white flesh, the Golden Phoenix is often mistaken for being rotten to the uninitiated. This durian has an acquired taste that usually takes some time to get used to.
Price: From S$12/kg
With an elongated husk and thin thorns which are greenish-yellow colour like bamboo, Green Bamboo is a species of durian that is well-loved by fans of sweet durians. The fruit can be easily identified once you open it with its trademark orange stem that runs down the core. Green Bamboo has a particularly hard shell and can be difficult to open, thus you have to be careful when handling this one!
Due to its fibrous flesh, Green Bamboo is easier to digest as compared to its counterparts. It has a brownish yellow flesh and a metallic undertone with a bitter aftertaste that hits you subtly after its buttery sweetness.
Price: From S$15/kg
A rare species from Johor, Black Pearl can be distinguished by its almond-shaped husk and stubby stem.
This durian is unique for its small seeds which are said to be as small as a pearl, thus earning it its name. Black pearl is loved by durian fans for its smooth texture and milky taste that is slightly bitter. It is not too overwhelming and thus is widely accepted by many.
Price: From S$16/kg
The crème de la crème of durians, Black Gold can be easily is a few grades higher than the highly-rated Mao Shan Wang. This species can be easily identified by its dark greyish green seams that signify the maturity of the durian tree.
The meat of the Black Gold durian has greyish undertones under its bright yellow flesh. Due to the age of the durian tree, Black Gold has a deeper and more complex favour profile. It has a silky custard-like texture that is rich with musky notes that can be considered potent those who are unfamiliar with its taste.
Price: From S$25/kg
Now that we are able to identify the different durians and also have an idea of their respective characteristics, here are some pro tips for those of you who are planning to pick one out for yourself!