5 of the best durians this season: Musang King (D197), Green Skin (D145), Tembaga (D118), XO, D7

1. Musang King (Mao Shan Wang/D197/Raja Kunyit)

Musang King

This beauty is from a very old tree. That’s important as older trees produce a more complex flavor profile, often described as chocolate. Like all Musang King, this durian has absurdly creamy and sticky flesh that coats the mouth with intense sticky bittersweet goodness.

D197 Musang King

The characteristic saffron like flesh is wrinkled and you can see the seeds peeking through the skin. It’s very flavorful and not for the faint hearted – the concentrated flavors of the durian lingers long and the seeds are flat and tiny.

Raja Kunyit

I got this for RM 25/kg at a new stall I discovered. It has a lot of unusual durians e.g. Durian Tembaga but their smaller selection of Musang Kings are surprisingly good grade. Me and my better half totally devoured this 1.3 kg fruit and left two seeds for her dad. It’s RM 32 for just a few seeds but definitely worth the price. I’ll go back to this stall again.

2. Green Skin (D145)

Green Skin

This is a good example of Green Skin Durian. It’s shaped like a melon and has bright green skin (thus the name). It’s designated as D145 and other popular names include Cheh Poay, Cheh Kak, Durian Hijau and Tuan Mek Hijau or Durian Beserah. It has creamy yellow flesh which is slightly dry (in a good way). This particular Green Skin only had 4 sections, each having two (2) very uniform seeds for a total of 8.

Cheh Poay

I got this for RM 15/kg at a new shop I discovered near SS6. This particular specimen weighed 1.4 kg which comes up to a total of RM 21. Green Skin is a Penang durian (cheh poay literally means green skin in Hokkien) and this place specializes in bringing down durians from the northern states (while others do Pahang, Johor etc).

Green Skin Durian

I think a lot of new durian connoisseurs would love Green Skin – it tastes a lot like Mas Selangor. The flesh is ultra creamy and very, very sweet with little to no fibre. It’s just pure sugary goodness that melts in your mouth, and there’s a lot of flesh. Yum.

3. Durian Tembaga (D118)

Durian Tembaga

I’ve never had this durian before but I know it’s very popular in Indonesia. Durian Tembaga is called such due to the color of the flesh. Tembaga means copper. It has a strange shape with five (5) distinctive sides.

Tembaga Durian

I wanted to try something different and this seller came up with three (3) durian tembaga he was keeping for another buyer (who didn’t turn up). I ended up buying one at RM 18/kg (bargained down from RM 20/kg).

Tembaga

Durian Tembaga is an official clone (D118) but you hardly ever see it around coz it’s one of those lesser known cultivars. That means it doesn’t have the “brand power” of something like Black Thorn, Musang King or Red Prawn (Ang Heh).

D118 Durian Tembaga

That doesn’t mean it’s not good though, if you like thick fleshed durians with a rich and bittersweet profile, you’ll love Durian Tembaga. This durian breed isn’t small though, it’s a medium to large sized fruit – the one I selected weighed 2.7 kg and cost me RM 48. The seeds are small and flat though.

4. Sweet XO

XO Durians

I thought this was a rather weird experience. I bought an starfruit shaped XO and it tasted sweet with little of the alcoholic aftertaste you usually associate with an XO durian. It still tasted good and it was cheap at RM 12/kg and I just assumed it was from a younger tree.

Durians XO

XO Durians are one of the larger species out there – this one weighs 3.3 kg and came up to RM 40. I asked my dear if she tasted an alcoholic aftertaste and she did so maybe it’s me who has a left-of-center palate. I tasted bittersweet notes where she tasted sweet on more than one occasion too.

5. D7 Durian

Durian D7

D7 is a very old durian clone. It was officially registered in 1934, before there was even a Malaysia, which makes it among the first batch of registered durian cultivars. However, throughout the ensuring 81 years, it has waned in popularity (at least among the mass market) which is a bit of a shame. There were only 2 when I went yesterday.

D7 Green Skin Durian

The D7 durian is recognizable from the yellow shell and spikes of the fruit. This is in complete contrast with the Green Skin Durian (which I bought at the same stall). BTW, the color does not denote ripeness, it’s just a breeding characteristic. It’s sold at RM 15/kg for this 1.2 kg fruit. It’s a steal at RM 18.

D7 Durian

It’s very tasty and the seeds are beautiful and appealing, with the flesh pulling back from the seeds slightly. D7 durians tastes slightly moist (not the bad kind of wet like old durians, it just has more moisture than the dry durians) and bittersweet. It’s a great durian for the price.

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25 thoughts on “5 of the best durians this season: Musang King (D197), Green Skin (D145), Tembaga (D118), XO, D7

  1. I only know Musang King from your list.. I also heard of “black fins” (hak chi) and “udang merah”, that’s all.. Never had one bite during the season, not a fan of durian, but sometimes teringin mau makan also, but scared heaty pulak, as I just recovered from a terrible sore throat and tonsilitis..

  2. Cheap there , I hear. Wish I could get hold of some to make tempoyak. Not really into the fruit but I do love my tempoyak dishes – running out of it at the moment, not very much left. :(

    • It’s getting more expensive year after year. :)

      I don’t think you’ll consider RM 48/kg cheap – that’s what old tree Musang King retails for right about now. There was a glut a few years back that had Musang King drop to ridiculously low prices (RM 10-12/kg) at one point though.

      Of course, there are kampung durians for RM 10 for 4 but if you want cultivated breeds like these, you’ll have to pay a bit more.

    • Thanks bro! :)

      Hey, you can always eat them in Kuching or Sibu! I miss the red durians we get back home – what we call durian hutan (jungle durians). There’s a proper name for it though.

  3. I have to confess that I was salivating and drooling at all your durian photos and could smell them!!! I have only eaten Musang King and XO. All other names are new to me!

    • Yeah, durian tembaga was new to me too! :)

      I’ve never tasted it before, only heard about it. I got it near Shah Alam, seems to be popular with the Indonesians. I like Musang King too but I want to try more obscure durians and I’m eating the ones that’s in-season.

  4. ooo, i’ve never heard of Green Skin … i’ve been hearing some buzz about Black Thorn, but i’m not a durian devotee, so i probably won’t be trying it, but this is a great post, very informative for durian dummies like me! :D

  5. Hi Huai Bin,

    Great write up! Although I have to say I have been disappointed in Green Skin this year. it’s a bit sweet and not as bitter as last year, but you are right that it melts in your mouth :)

    I always think Musang King looks weird in pictures because it’s so shiny… I guess that’s shiny layer is part of what makes it delicious!

    • Thanks Lindsay! :)

      I love your blog, you know so much about durians it’s always such a great (and enlightening) experience to read your posts. I really admire what you’re doing too, talk about following your dreams.

      Yeah, I have a theory that most of the good Penang durians stays in Penang due to local demand so the Green Skin here would not be as good as a similar one from Penang. Not sure how true that is though.

      Heh! I love the shiny saffron color too, it’s very appealing.

  6. am going crazy~ why everyone is posting durian recently! now durian education! Dubai got no durian! :(

    The only durian will be the type that is frozen, hard, whitish, tasteless, disgusting. and cost you RM40 for two piece.

    • It’s durian season now! :)

      Oh, I’ve had that in Melbourne while I was doing my university there. I saw it in the Asian grocer and couldn’t resist (although it cost close to AUD 70 – about RM 200+ for a frozen durian). I think it was a Monthong, it’s definitely from Thailand and a bunch of us pitched in to buy it.

  7. I love to eat durians. Seeing all the photos here make me want to eat durians all the more but the weather is so hot, how to eat?

    • You can always drink coconut water! :)

      I mean if you believe in the cool/heaty food theory that is. I personally don’t so I don’t have any problems with eating massive amounts of durian. I can eat a lot of (supposedly) “heaty food” without any problems, probably coz I don’t believe any of that.

      However, my better half does and she gets sore throat from eating too much durians. I think it’s the reverse placebo effect – the mind is a powerful thing, you can get sick if you believe in it, while I’m fine coz I don’t.

  8. Where to get the wrinkly MSK? Could it be the ones I tried are from younger trees since the taste is milder and flesh less wrinkly… not ‘kick’ enough.

  9. thanks for sharing your durian sessions. so informative! I wanna eat them all. had so much durian already. gotta control sikit cos I do get sore throat when I eat too much durian.

  10. Hi, could anyone tell me where I can buy excellent AAA top-of-the-line grade of Musang King please?
    A piece of heaven lies in these particular variant which offers the creamiest, most rich and thick flesh. A single seed – often very tiny – the size your the nail on your pinkie, and flat, could sometimes take up a whole segment of the fruit.

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