Here’s the ultimate guide to choosing the best durians because durian season is coming liao!

Even though Singapore does not have the four seasons like other countries, but one season which you may love or hate would be the durian season. The durian season typically falls in the later half of the year between the months of June to August with a minor season between December to February. For those who love the thorny fruit and its creamy flesh, I’m sure you’ve always been trying to distinguish the better breeds of durian such as the Mao Shan Wang or D24 from the normal ones. Another thing that you may keep you up at night would be how to pick the best Mao Shan Wang or D24. If you face these problems, here’s a guide that will teach you how to differentiate your Mao Shan Wang from your D24.

Mao Shan Wang

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If you have never tried this durian before, you might as well go eat durian puffs instead. Mao Shan Wang is a highly sought after breed of durian that is widely popular here in Singapore, and one interesting piece of trivia about the Mao Shang Wang Durian is that while normal durians either have flesh that tastes either sweet or bitter, the Mao Shan Wang is known to have both sweet and bitter tasting flesh in the same fruit. The distinguishing features of the Mao Shang Wang Durians are that it has thorns that are pyramid-shaped and the thorns tend to be concentrated at the base of the stem. An unmistakable trait of the Mao Shan Wang Durian is the unique starfish-shaped pattern found at the base of the durian. The flesh of the durian is also a shade of bright royal yellow, hence some give it the name Rajah Kunyit, which means Royal Yellow in Malay.

Musang King

durian types

The Musang King is sometimes mistaken as the Mao Shan Wang durian as it has a similar five-pointed star pattern on the base of its fruit. The difference between this durian and the Mao Shan Wang is that the pattern at the base of this durian is much bigger and obvious as compared to a Mao Shan Wang durian. The thorns of this durian can vary from one durian to another, with some durians having sharp point thorns that cluster together to having wide angular thorns that are spaced wide apart. The flesh of this durian tastes sweet and creamy, and is said to resemble the consistency of a toasted marshmallow. The shell of this durian is also yellow-brown with a tinge of purple.

Golden Phoenix/ Jin Feng


This durian has a shell that varies between shades of pale green to greyish brown. It is a popular choice for durians lovers who wish to enjoy durians at a fraction of the cost of eating a Mao Shan Wang durian.  The durian also contains a considerable amount of flesh for its small size, and is popular as a value-for-money choice. The fresh of this durian is said to be bittersweet and slightly watery. The shell of the durian has sharp pointed thorns that resemble needles and the fruit is roundish and oval in shape.



Probably one of the most recognisable durians here in Singapore, the XO is aptly named for its thick watery flesh which is bitter and the taste of which may remind you of alcohol. This is the result of a fermentation process within the durian as it ripens. The shell of the XO durian is brownish green and its flesh is pale yellow in colour. The XO is typically round or oval in shape, and its thorns are pointed inwards at the base of the fruit which forms a crater around them.



The name D24 will send any durian lover into a frenzy when they hear it, and the reason why is because this was usually one of the most popular durians found widely across Singapore before Mao Shan Wang became a trend. The fruit is yellowish-green and its thick and creamy flesh is not as strong tasting as other durians, making it a good choice for those who are still hesitant but wanting to try durians. The stem of the durian is shorter compared to other breeds and there is a noticeable brown-colored ring around the bottom of the stem.

Red Prawn

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This durian breed is named due to its flesh being coloured a bright shade of orangey-red and is a favourite of those who have a sweet tooth, as its flesh is highly sweet and creamy but less firm than other durians. The shell of the durian is brown and its thorns are short and spaced far apart.

Black Pearl/ Hei Zhen Zhu


This is one of the most expensive durians you can find in Singapore. The name Black Pearl is a fitting description as the durian has fruit that is very fleshy and have small seeds. It is also small in size with a stubby and short stem.

On top of how to distinguish these premium breeds of durians, it is important for you to know how to pick a good durian. The key factors when choosing a durian include shape, smell and taste. A durian that is shaped regularly will definitely have more flesh than an oddly shaped one as they have more chambers to hold flesh. When it comes to smell, you should take a sniff along the seams of the durian instead of the base as the base of the durian is the thickest part of the fruit. When smelling a durian, it must give off a slight aroma, as an unripe durian will not have any fragrance and over ripe durians will have an overpowering smell. Another sign to watch out for is that XO durians are usually large in size and Red Prawn durians are smaller in comparison. For selecting a durian, it is important to not just base its quality solely on visual cues; if possible, you should also have a sample taste of the flesh. Sample is free mah!

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