The Ultimate Durian Guide
Updated: Mar 27
In this article, we will covering some of the durians available in Malaysia. We'll talk about the taste profile, texture, color, place of origin and the average price point for these durians. We will be updating this page as we go along and discover new cultivars.
Sultan D24 or XO.
This durian used to take the crown before it was dethroned by Musang King.
It is widely grown in Pahang and Johor.
D24 has a distinctly off-white flesh color, big seed size and has a thick flesh.
Taste wise, it is mostly sweet but at times, when left to ferment well, it can be rather bitter with a pungent alcoholic taste.
Hor Lor, D163.
This durian can be found in parts of the state of Pahang, Penang as well as in Johor.
Overall, this durian is elongated, with a curvy inner compartment that resembles a gourd, hence its name, Hor Lor or 葫芦.
It is generally a mild tasting durian with medium size seed.
So for beginners or children, this will be a good durian to start with.
This breed is probably one of the best I have ever tasted.
It has thick creamy texture. It is moist but not to a point of being cloying.
A big percentage of S17s contains bitter notes and has a pungent intense taste to it.
Sometimes, you can even notice a slight soya bean notes at the end.
But one thing is S17 generally has big seeds.
Red Prawn D175.
This breed originated from Penang. However, due to its popularity, it has been widely grown in various parts of Johor.
Contrary to what the name suggest, Red Prawn does not really have a red flesh.
The flesh color consist of a light pinkish tone. It has medium size seed and are mostly sweet profile.
But at times, if the weather is hot enough, you do commonly get pretty bitter red prawn durians as well.
There are many durian sellers who will pass off D13 as red prawn. So do take note of that.
Black Pearl Durian.
Black Pearl has an average weight of 1.8kg and has a whitish yellow flesh.
It has a good bitter tones with less sweetness.
And what makes this durian popular is that most of it contains really small seed.
Jinfeng, Golden Phoenix, D198
Jinfeng typically comes in small size. A 1.4kg Jinfeng is considered as large.
It has a whitish, slightly pale yellow flesh color.
One big plus about Jinfeng is its extremely high yield. Credit to its thin husks, it typically has a yield of around 35-38%, significantly higher than Musang King (which has a yield of 28-30% max).
Jinfeng usually has a strong bold taste with good chance of it being bitter. And it typically has small seed as well.
This cultivar ranks 2nd in popularity in Singapore.
Durian Dalit 山榴莲
This is a cultivar that is really rare. You can only get it mostly in East Malaysia in Borneo region.
Durian Dalit is actually a wild durian. And the weirdest thing is that it doesn't really taste like durians at all.
It does have a highly complex taste. And the best we could describe is that it's a combination of Cempedak, peanut, watermelon with a hint of bubblegum flavor.
It also has a thick and pastey texture instead of the typical creaminess we will expect in durians.
Musang King, Mao Shan Wang D197
Musang King has really gain prominence in the last 10 years. And there's little wonder why this culitvar has out perform all other cultivars.
D197 has a rich intense flavor with just the right amount of sweetness and bitterness. It has a pleasant aroma and has a nice creamy texture.
Around 40% of the seeds comes small and flat.
To date, Musang King is the most popular durian cultivar in Singapore. The price for Musang King is also the most volatile and it can range from $15 upward to $28 per kg during the low season.
Some call Tekka, Musang Queen. This cultivar is widely grown in Pahang and some parts of Johor.
Fans of Tekka will tell you that it has a deeper and more profound flavor than Musang King.
Tekka has a characteristic "ridge" or "valley" in the middle of the durian which makes it really hard to cut open.
In good weather, we have tasted Tekka that has a really nice floral flavor with a strong bitter notes.
Celestial Durian, 神仙果
This cultivar is available during the mid year season.
It is not an officially registered cultivar. Celestial has a characteristic pointy bottom.
The flesh color is pale yellow. It is fleshy with big seed.
Taste wise, it is common to get bitter notes and nice mild sweetness to it. However, it terms of texture, it can get rather moist at times.
D13 ("Fake" Red Prawn)
D13 is widely grown all over Johor.
It has a deep orange flesh color. It is mostly sweet but occasionally it could be really bitter and pungent as well.
One downside is D13s usually has big seeds. But this is made up by its general low price.
It is common for sellers to pass this cultivar off as Red Prawn to command a higher price.
Green Skin Durian 青皮王
Green Skin is a cultivar found in certain parts of State of Johor (Muar and Segamat).
It has a pale yellowish flesh and has a surprisingly rich and intense flavor.
In terms of texture, it's slightly fibrous and creamy which makes this durian really filling.
It contains big seeds but the flesh yield more than compensate for this.
This is a rare breed and value for money.
Black Thorn 黑刺 , D200
In the last 3 years, Black Thorn has been gaining fame throughout Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Registered as D200, it originated in Penang but farmers, wanting to catch the trend, has been growing Black Thorn in parts of Penang and Johor.
It has a characteristic "ridge or valley" in the middle of the durian.
The flesh is deep burnt orange in color. It has smooth creamy texture with big seeds. In terms of taste, it can rival Musang King in bitterness and sweetness.
Nowadays, it is quite common for Black Thorn to fetch higher prices than Musang king. My personal opinion is that the high price is mainly due to the media hype. So due to the rarity and the high demand, the price of Black Thorn typically cost around $2 - $5 per kg more than Musang King. Worth it or not, you will have to judge by yourself.