To the uninitiated, all durians look and smell the same. For enthusiasts of the fruit however, they are as varied and complex as wine, with each different cultivar having its own distinct characteristics.
Prepare yourself for the upcoming Resorts World Sentosa Durian Fest 2015 on 10 and 11 July by feasting on some of the most popular durians in Singapore. Round up the buffet with seasonal fruits such as mangosteens, jackfruits and duku langsats, and wash them down with fresh coconut juice.
Mao Shan Wang
Also known as: Butter durian or Rajah Kunyit
Where it’s grown: Pahang, Kelantan and Johor. According to experts, the best ones are those that come from the Bentong region in Pahang.
Characteristics: Depending on where it’s grown, it has a light green and sometimes brownish husk, and a distinctive golden yellow flesh with small seeds.
Flavour profile: A creamy, buttery mouth-feel and a bitter-sweet taste.
Also known as: Sultan Durian (because it used to be so rare in Malaysia that only the country’s Sultans got to eat them) or Bukit Merah.
Where it’s grown: Johor, Pahang and Perak.
Characteristics: A slightly uneven shape, light green husk and sharp, thin spikes. Has a small round patch the size of a 10- or 20-cent coin at the bottom of the fruit.
Flavour profile: Generally sweet with a slightly bitter after-taste.
Also known as: Ang Heh.
Where it’s grown: This cultivar was first grown on Balik Pulau in Penang though it is now grown in Johor as well.
Characteristics: Winner of the 1989 Penang Durian Competition, this durian has a round shell and distinctive orange-hued arils that resemble prawns, hence its name.
Flavour profile: Soft, custardy and smooth with a creamy and bittersweet aftertaste.
Also known as: Jin Feng.
Where it’s grown: East Malacca
Characteristics: Named after the couple who registered it, this cultivar has, depending on where it’s grown, a light green to greyish brown husk, light-coloured arils, a creamy texture and small seeds.
Flavour profile: This depends on where it’s grown but generally it’s sweet with a slight bitterness.
This article first appeared in the RWS Invites magazine in 2013. The content has been updated to reflect the durians available at Resorts World Sentosa Durian Fest 2015 in July.