Durian grows in tropical regions around the world and particularly popular in Southeast Asia in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Malaysia is blessed with Durian and I was lucky enough to be in Johor Bahru, South Malaysia during its season June – August and was able to taste so many durian types in Malaysia.
Malaysia is the country that introduced me to this King of Fruit nine years ago and since then I was unable to forget its unique explosive and overpowering sweet smell. Its aroma in the air makes people either run away from it or get seduced by its powerful presence. When I tried durian for the first time I absolutely loved it and can never have enough of this super fruit.
Here we go….. nine years later….I am back in Malaysia again and I discovered that there are many different types of Durian that grow over here. Each type has its own unique taste, shape, size, colour, texture and aroma. As a durian lover, I decided to embark on a durian adventure. I was on a mission to try as many types as I can find and here is what I discovered. The cheapest I paid for a whole fruit was a little as $1 and the most expensive was $80.
In Malaysia, durian varieties registered with the Department of Agriculture since 1993. Each durian type has its own registrar number.
What are the durian types in Malaysia?
Kampung – D114
It is the most common type and it’s the cheapest amongst all the other types. It can be found everywhere and usually cost between MYR 5 to MYR 15 ($1.19 – $1.90) depending on the area it’s sold. The more rural the area the cheaper it is.
It could taste sweet and creamy or bitter and not so creamy or completely tasteless. Buying Kampung durian is a challenge and if you get the right one it can be a very satisfying experience. It consists of large seeds and thin flesh. When it comes to taste you will never know which one you get hence the price.
The good thing is that most sellers will open the durian and ask you to taste it first. If it’s bad or worm-infested they will find another one and ask you taste it before paying for it.
Choosing Kampung it’s a number game, I personally like it. When you get the right one it can be very delicious, yum.
Green Skin (Cheh Phoy) – D145
It is very easy to spot this type due to its bright green skin. In the past, I assumed that it was unripened durian and avoided it. The colour does not denote ripeness, it’s just a characteristic of this particular type of durian. Its flesh is rich yellow in colour and has a creamy texture that melts in your mouth. This type of Durian is popular in Penang the northern part of Malaysia and usually brought down to the Southern part. Cost MYR 40 ($9.50).
Black Thorn – D200
May have various in sizes but the one I tried was small and round in shape with rusted outside skin colour. To recognize blackthorn you can see one dried blackthorn sticking out at the bottom of the durian. That’s why it’s called Black Thorn.
Its flesh is small and plump with thick and creamy “meat” which rich in dark yellow-orange colour. It has an irresistible fruity and flowery aroma. Black Thorn is very popular along with Musang King. They are extremely expensive mainly due to the fact that Chinese tourists are willing to pay very high price for this type. Cost MYR 75 ($18) per kg.
Sunset – D18
This type of Durian has large seeds with thin and fibreless flesh. It tastes sweet with a bitter aftertaste. You normally eat this durian for its bitter taste if you are not keen on a rich and creamy texture.
Due to its large seeds and thin meat, after all this durian is not as popular amongst the other types. However, if you are adventures in tasting durians and experimenting with different tastes then I would certainly recommend it to try it. Cost MYR 25 ($6).
Red Prawn – D175
I tried Red Prawn Durian several times but they were never red but rather a burnt orange colour. From what I remember, It had the least amount of fibre. We also didn’t get the watery texture as we read from other reviews. Its flesh was dry and tasted very sweet and pleasantly bitter. It felt like I was eating burnt vanilla caramel. Its flavour woke up an appetite within me. Cost MYR 27 ($6.50).
This was one of my favourites. I would highly recommend trying this type. It is not too expensive and the taste is absolutely delicious.
Musang King – Premium variety D197
Musang King is so popular that it could cost 40% more than any other durian types.
It has a green colour like other varieties however, if you look at the bottom of it, you will find star-shaped pattern dividing into segments throughout the lengths of the fruit. The shape of it is more oval than round, more like a rugby ball (slightly fatter American football) At first bite, you will feel the sensation of rich and creamy flavour. It is so smooth and deliciously sweet with a hint of bitterness that its flesh melts in your mouth in one bite. Musang King’s flesh is thick and has a deep yellow colour. The seeds are small and slender. Depending on its size and the location, the price could start from MYR 50 to MYR 120 ($12 – $30) per kg.
My verdict: Totally worth it!
Golden Phoenix – D198
Not a very memorable experience with Golden Phoenix. This is the first durian I tried in Kulai which is North of Johor. It tasted quite bitter compared to other types of durian that I tried. The texture was dry and its bitterness was so profound and long-lasting.
The shape of durian was perfectly rounded and had a pale thick flesh with small seeds. It cost 28 MYR per kg which was worth it for the amount of flesh you get. Cost MYR 65 ($15.50).
Is very common durian which is affordable with pretty good taste, thick and creamy texture and the right balance of bitterness and sweetness.
It is also a type of durian that you can keep on eating it without getting too sick of it. Cost MYR 15 and above ($4).
XO is one of the most bitter-tasting durians. This type of durian you can find in almost every durian stall. It is well recognisable due to its brownish colour outside and its pale yellow flesh which is very soft, watery and intensely bitter. When it’s fully ripeness you can taste slight alcoholic aftertaste due to the fermentation process inside its shell. Although It is tasty it’s not one of my favourites and definitely wouldn’t recommend starting with this. Cost MYR 40 and above ($10).
Tried a few times this type before tasting other varieties. It has small seeds and its flesh has a gentle flavour, creamy but mildly sweet and not so overpowering.
Very “friendly” durian I would recommend this type to someone who has never tried durian before. It is on the cheaper side. Cost MYR 28 ($7).
I absolutely loved this type. It had deep yellow flesh and rich buttery, bitter aftertaste. After one bite I instantly felt ecstatic it is like a drug which I couldn’t stop and had whole fruit to myself.
This is the last type I tried in Kulai and I was addicted to it bittersweet taste and sticky, creamy texture. It’s definitely got me hooked. Even now….just thinking of it, makes my mouth water. Rare type and we only found this in rural areas. Cost MYR 30 ($8).
Paying the highest price it doesn’t mean that you will get the best quality. It is easy to scam when it comes to types of durian. It is better to go for cheaper durians but go for a few rather just trying one. The cheapest type is what I ate the most. But for every two good fruits, there was one that didn’t taste good.
How to avoid bad durian and not to be scammed by a durian vendor find out here.
I will always associate Malaysia with durian adventures I have had for the past six months. If I ever go back to Malaysia I would make sure that I go back during durian season.
I would love to hear about your durian adventures when you are next in Malaysia or other countries. What types of Durian did you taste? Do you have other tips to share?
If you are interested in quantity over quality ( like I was on some days) then check it out all you can eat durian buffet.
If you are interested in Tips for visiting Durian farm, you can find here.