Currently, Musang King is like black-market gold. It’s the most sought after, desired and expensive of all the durian varieties, selling for more than twice the price of average durian.
It’s also the durian most likely to be faked. That’s right: unscrupulous durian vendors will try to pull a fast one on the naive and sell an average durian under the name and price of the famous Musang King. Luckily, all durian varieties have slightly different shapes, colors, and spikes and you can learn to distinguish a true Musang King from a fake. Here are 5 tips to identify a true Musang King, as taught to us by the Musang Queen herself, Tina Chong. Thanks again, Tina!
The most well-known characteristic of Musang King is it’s deep, turmeric yellow flesh.
But Musang King is not the only durian with a dark yellow aril. Check out the picture below. Is it a Musang King or not?
If you can’t tell now, you should be able to after reading the following clues:
1. Shell Color
Durian shells vary pretty widely in color from yellow-brown to camo-green to tinged with purple. Unlike other fruits, the color does not always denote ripeness, but is a characteristic of the variety.
Musang King (left) is a dusky green-tan bordering on yellow. Often the coloration will change between the tips of the thorns and the base. In comparison, D24 is typically a homogenous green.
2. Spike Density and Shape
Spikes can be either far apart or very close together, kind of square and pyramidal, or round and thin as a needle.
In Musang King, the spike is fairly large and pyramidal, set fairly far apart. Compare to the spike of a D24, which clusters
3. Visibility of Seams
All durians open via weakened seams running the length of each lobe from tip to stem. As I mention in How to Open a Durian, I am in totally in love with these seams. They are like the Achilles Heel of the world’s most formidable fruit. On some durians, these seams are visible lines or bands, while on others the seams are invisible.
Musang King’s seams are very visible, meeting on the bottom in a broad five pointed star. Often the spikes will even point away from the seam, creating an effect almost like the opening of the Red Sea. In contrast, the seams on a D24 are practically invisible. The spikes even point toward each other, further hiding the seam beneath a spiky bower.
Another way to identify durian variety is by the shape of the band connecting the stem to the fruit. This is sometimes called the crown. How fitting is that – the King of Fruit has a crown!
As you can see in the picture, the durian on the left has a smooth crown. The spikes face downwards away from it and there’s even a little bit of a gap between the crown and where the spikes start. That’s the Musang King.
In contrast, D24’s crown has spikes growing up and over it, facing upward in jagged imitation of a traditional king’s crown.
5. Stem Length
All durian varieties have different lengths of stem. Some have very long stems, like the variety called Gan Yao in Thailand. Others have stems so short you can barely fit your fingers onto it to pick it up.
Musang King has a relatively long stem, while D24 has a short stem.
When looking over a possible Musang King durian, you’re looking for a green-yellow fruit with a long stem, a very visible tan five-pointed star on the bottom, pyramidal spikes without much space between them, and of course that brilliant yellow flesh.
Now look at the first picture again:
Now what do you think? Musang King or not?