We were honoured to be invited to a segment by CNA in July 2019 where we demonstrate to viewers how to choose a good durian. Watch the video here.
How to choose your durian
Step 1: Smell
A good durian must have a strong aroma to it. Sniff near the stalk of the durian or along the rift lines. If there is a pleasant sweet smell, it means the durians are ripe. If the smell is very overwhelming, it may mean that the durians have over-ripen. It may also indicate that the durian husk have ruptured.
Even if the smell is too strong, it does not necessary mean that it is not good. If you are the kind who like a strong XO taste to your durians, then these will be prefect for you.
Note: Do not start smelling from the bottom of the durian as it usually gives you false positive results.
One thing to note, after being surrounded by thousands of durians in a day, the durian vendor's olfactory senses will be sensitized by then, and smelling is often not the most accurate test for quality.
Step 2: Shape & Shake
Watch the shape of the durians. Durians with bulging sides indicates that the seeds are fleshy. Concave side is a strong indication that it is an empty chamber :(
When shaking, you should feel for a small movement. If the durians are riped, there should be a small gap between the pellicles and the chamber. If you don't feel any movement, it means the durians are not ripe yet. Too much and it indicates over-ripened durians.
Step 3: Stalk
Visually inspect the stalks. It should be slightly greenish with a tinge of brownish "burnt-looking" edges. As the durian ripens, it is natural for the stalks to start drying up. The drying of the stalks is a natural mechanism for the durians to dislodge from the tree and drop to the ground.
If the stalk looks dry, it may mean that the durian has fallen for more than 12 hours. Too green and it may mean that the durians are forcefully cut down from the tree. These durians might not be ripe yet.
If you see a clean cut, it may suggest that the durians are being cut down from the tree rather than falling naturally.
Step 4: Color
If you see yellow spots on the husk, it is an indication that the durian may have been more than 2 days old. So do check the husk colour and make sure it is nice and green.
Also, look out for the color of the durian flesh. Some cultivars has paler yellow compared to others. Mao Shan Wang generally has a darker yellow. If the durians are too pale (some may even be white), it is a sign that the fruit is under-developed and are generally tasteless.
Step 5: Taste
Talk so much for what! See, shake, smell also no use lah.
Just put it in your mouth for the real test!!!