How to Eat Durian in Singapore? Here’s a Complete Guide

Jul 16 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic may have grounded the world to a halt—but not the durian season. In Singapore, we have already reached the peak of the durian season which runs from May to August this year, when the supplies abound.


While we may be spending more time at home as part of the social distancing measures, it doesn’t mean that we can’t get our fair share of durian when businesses have adapted to the new normal and taken their delivery services online.


Singapore Rolls into Durian Season Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic


In a typical durian season, you would observe how the number of fruit stalls selling fresh durians double, if not triple. There are also other stalls that pop-up everywhere selling not only fresh durians but delicacies made with the king of fruit as well.


This season is awaited by locals and tourists alike because the durian prices drop significantly because of the increase in supply. Plus, it also yields the best-tasting durians you can ever find—while durians are available all-year-round, it’s only during durian season where they truly taste the best.



However, with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, driving to your favourite durian stall or dining in a spot near the shop fronts isn’t an option—and this is where delivery comes in. Most durian sellers in Singapore have kept up with the changing times with them offering delivery services. All you have to do is place an order whether via text, call or their website, and the durians will be sent to your doorstep in well-sealed boxes.


In this article, we will go in-depth about everything you need to know about durians.



Part I: How to Choose a Good Durian


A different man, a different taste.


There is a divided opinion about durian in Singapore. Some praise it for its sweet, creamy flesh that resembles a pudding while others are disgusted not only by its smell but the flavour that is compared to rotten onions and raw sewage. But, if it was so bad, would it ever be called the king of fruits?


A native to Southeast Asia, the name durian is derived from the Malay-Indonesian term duri which translates to spike—a name owing to its numerous pricks. It ripens during the rainy season and grows on an average of 30 cm in length and 3 kg in weight.



There are several varieties of durian, the majority of which are grown in Malaysia and Thailand and you are probably most familiar with Mao Shan Wang and D24. Below are some other types of durians you can find in Singapore this durian season.


9 Types of Durian in Singapore


Mao Shan Wang (MSW)

Also called: Butter Durian, Musang King, Rajah Kunyit


MSW is distinguished for its creamy texture and a strong bittersweet aftertaste. It has pyramid-shaped thorns at the base of the stem and a unique starfish-shaped suture at the base.



Also called: Sultan


D24 is a little less overwhelming in flavour than MSW and is known for its creamy texture and subtle bittersweet aftertaste. It has a shorter stem compared to other durians and has a brown-coloured ring around the base of the stem.


Golden Phoenix

Also called: Jin Feng


While being one of the smallest durians, Golden Phoenix comes with a strong, pungent smell. It is distinguished for its bitter taste, watery texture, and pale yellow-white colour that you can mistake for being rotten. It’s round or oval in shape and its shell has sharp, needle-like thorns.



XO is intense, bitter, and has a subtly alcoholic aftertaste—this can be explained by the fact that the breed is cultivated through an extended period of fermentation inside its shell. It is typically round or oval in shape and its thorns are pointed inwards at the base.


Red Prawn

Also called: Hong Xia, Ang Hei, Udang Merah


Red Prawn is unique with its vibrant reddish-orange colour flesh that is creamier and stickier than most durians. Its taste depends on the age of the tree it is harvested from: younger trees yield sweeter fruit and the more mature ones produce more bitter fruit.


Black Pearl

Also called: Hei Zhen Zhu


A rare durian species, Black Pearl has small black seeds, a stubby stem, and pale yellow flesh with grey undertones. It has a smooth and creamy taste with a slight bittersweet aftertaste that doesn’t come off as overwhelming.


Green Bamboo

Also called: Qing Zhu


This breed features a sweet, buttery, and fibrous flesh. When you pry it open, it will reveal a pale yellow, greenish flesh and the distinct orange stem in the core.


Black Thorn

With its vibrant yellow and creamy flesh that has a sweet and custardy taste, Black Thorn is often likened to Mao Shan Wang—only it’s not as rich and has a lighter texture than the latter. The tips of the thorns are usually darker too, hence the name.


Black Gold

Black Gold is regarded as the emperor of durians, being a few grades higher than MSW. It has strong, complex, bitter taste notes and a higher chance of black gold veins—an indication that the fruit is from a mature durian tree capable of producing deep, bitter, complex flavours with a musky aroma, which can either be seductive or repugnant to some.



5 Signs to Tell if a Durian is Ripe


You have to cut into the hard rind with a knife to reveal the yellow or red edible flesh of durian. But, there’s more you should know in picking a ripe durian—it’s almost like a ritual practised in marketplaces, more so during the durian season.


Whereas buyers examine, sniff, and shake the fruits, sellers usually have a stick with which they strike each durian. They are after a dull, hollow sound which indicates that the flesh is ripe and soft enough to allow the seeds to move inside.


If you don’t know what to look for in a ripe durian, below are some signs to keep an eye out on.


1. A stem that breaks off at the abscission layer. When it falls off the tree, the stem of a ripe durian should break off at a weakened groove—called the abscission layer. If it was cut, however, you can still see how close to ripeness the fruit is by wiggling the stem—if it’s loose, the durian is almost ripe and if it has broken off completely or comes off easily, it is ripe.


2. More visible sutures. Moreover, in a ripe durian, the sutures in the rind should become more visible. These are the faint brownish outlines like a 5-pointed star where the sections separate. Follow these lines and you’ll have a perfectly cut durian.


3. Smell that is neither too raw nor too strong. Take a whiff. What can you smell? If the durian has a sour, unripe smell or no smell at all, chances are it’s not ripe. But, if it smells really strong, it may be overripe. What you’re after is a smell that is strong but not overpowering—but, of course, it still depends on your preference.


4. An inserted knife comes out sticky. Using a toothpick or a needle-sharp knife, stab the durian and if it comes out with a trace of goop, it means it’s ready. It’s pretty much like checking on a baking cake but you’re looking to achieve the opposite. This is run of the mill among durian sellers in Singapore.


5. The shell gives a little under pressure. Position your thumb over one of the swollen lobes of durian where you are much closer to the flesh and press down. If the durian is ripe, the shell will give a little under pressure. But if it’s not ripe, you might as well feel like pressing on concrete.


In addition to this, the 1994 book Durian: Fruit Development, Postharvest Physiology, Handling and Marketing in ASEAN, shares 9 indicators of a ripe durian.



The same book also classifies consumers of fresh durian into those who prefer partially ripe, edible ripe, soft ripe, and overripe pulp. Whatever your preference may be, there’s a durian right for you. What you have to remember, though, is that cut durian perishes quite rapidly so consume immediately.



Part II: How Much is Durian in Singapore?


The durian trade is a dynamic one, with prices and varieties changing on a daily basis depending on the demand, supply, and season. The tree where the fruit is harvested from is also a factor in determining its price.


On average, the Mao Shan Wang variety is sold from $16-$27 per kilogram. While it is one of the most in-demand durian cultivars, there are other variants too, often at much cheaper prices. D24 durians can cost $11-$18 per kg and Red Prawn durians are priced at an average of $9-$11 per kg.


What Can Affect Durian Prices in Singapore?


Mature durian trees start to develop flower buds at the beginning of the dry season. They need approximately three months for them to grow the fruits and fully ripen. When the weather has been good, with just the right amount of water, they will produce great-tasting fruits at a steady number and prices.


However, there are times when the prices of durian fluctuate based on various factors:


Bad Weather: Having bad weather—whether too much rain or too little of it—can cause durian trees to produce smaller quantities of fruits. When there’s a shortage of supply, the prices will increase.


High Demand: Plantations in Thailand and Malaysia export durians in several Southeast Asian countries and when more importers vie for the supply, there’s a higher demand hence, the higher prices.


While many factors that can affect durian prices, you can expect cheaper durians this durian season as we see a slight drop in prices across several durian cultivars.


How Many Durians Can You Eat?


Most fresh durians available online are sold per pack, de-husked and packaged on the day of the delivery to ensure freshness. It comes from roughly 3.2kgs of durian with husk and is good for approximately two persons.



Too much of anything can be dangerous and the same goes for eating too much durian fruit. Although there are no real dangers to it, you may gain some weight if you eat durian above the recommended intake due to its relatively high caloric value.


Plus, don’t pair durian with too much alcohol as the fruit prevents the production of a key enzyme that the liver needs to process the alcohol.


How to Prepare & Eat Durian


Durian is covered with forbidding spikes that make it nearly impossible to open. When trying to open it, you have to hack it along the sutures that are barely perceptible between the spikes and cut through the skin about 3-4 inches long. As you cut, you have to pry it open to reveal cavities that cradle soft, yellow lobes of sweet, custardy fruit. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with this dilemma when most durian retailers are selling their fruits packed and dehusked.


You can eat the fruit by tearing pieces off the pods and eating them with your hands. When you swallow, you will smell as much as you can taste the durian’s bittersweet fragrance. A good durian should leave an aroma in your mouth for several minutes.


As strongly as it is loved, some others hate durian with an equal passion, primarily due to its smell that tends to linger—explaining why it is banned in public transportations and many hotels in Singapore.


Besides eating them fresh, there are many other ways to eat durian.


Durian Chips: A snack made with unripe durians, so they’re odourless and taste almost like potato chips.


Durian Bread: Many traditional bread and pastries are being given a twist by adding Durian-infused custard filling. The results are perfect for those who are trying durian for the first time.


Durian Desserts: From the usual puffs, pancakes, and ice cream, there are as much durian desserts to try as there are durian varieties you can find in Singapore.



Additionally, frozen durians are also a guilty pleasure The frozen fruit melts in the mouth like ice cream and because it’s frozen, the smell is tolerable and almost barely there.


How Do You Tell a Bad Durian?


If you like your durians fresh, you can keep it well in the fridge for 1-2 days in an airtight container. Avoid stacking them to keep them from bruising. Alternatively, you can keep them in a freezer for up to two months.


Be mindful if your durian smells sour or has a sour taste. If that’s the case, the fruit has likely gone bad and should be thrown away.


Meanwhile, don’t just write off a durian that has some slight irregularities. For instance, if the flesh has some brown discolouration on the edges, it’s an indication that it has been attacked by worms. Even so, if the rest of the segments are intact, the fruit should remain delicious and safe to eat.



Part III: How to Order Durian Delivery in Singapore


Want durians delivered fresh to you?


With the present situation, it’s safer to have durians delivered to your doorstep. Ordering durian online also means you don’t have to spend time travelling to your favourite fruit stall or worry about the durian ban on public transport if you want to enjoy it at home.


However, if you’re a stickler for selecting your fruit, the inability to tell the quality on a screen may seem quite challenging to you. It also doesn’t help that there are dishonest sellers who also exist online and would try to cheat you in several ways:


  • Sell you durians that seem subpar
  • Pass other durian species off as MSW or some other cultivar that you’re looking for
  • Give you unripe or rotten fruit
  • Offer you durian that is less than its supposed weight


So, how can you order durians in Singapore online without having to worry about getting ripped off? Below are a few tips.


How Do You Find an Honest Online Durian Seller?


1. Order from a durian online seller that allows for self-collection, which would let you inspect the goods.


2. Opt for someone that offers a free replacement if for bad durians.


3. Read online reviews about the quality of durians being sold by a particular seller.


4. Shop only from a shop that has quite a reputation in selling durians in Singapore.


Due to very high demand for durians, stocks may run out quickly. So, when ordering, make sure to check on a shop’s site or social media pages for updates on the availability of durians. If no durian is available, check back regularly in case they restock.


With that said, the best way to get your hands on durian is to order in advance. Otherwise, you’re probably going to be disappointed every time you try to place an order only to be informed that the durians are sold out.


Get Your Durian Delivered at Your Doorstep Today!


Durian Delivery SG is a trusted online durian seller in Singapore. We have recently just launched but the amount of support and positive feedback we are receiving is overwhelming.


We know how important trust is to the business, hence our commitment to provide fresh and high-quality durians for same-day delivery across Singapore. We offer thick, creamy and bittersweet Mao Shan Wang durians at a minimum of 1 box of estimated 500g of flesh from a 2-kilogram durian before dehusk. Visit us on Facebook for updates on available stocks of Mao Shan Wang and more. Chat with us on WhatsApp at +65 8904 0354.


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