How to Identify Musang King and D24



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 a more average durian.

That said, 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.

4. Crown

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.

In Summary: 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?
First three correct answers gets one of our Iron-on Durian patches, Free!


32 comments:

  1. Cappi and I think Musang King!

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  2. I think it is D24. :-) I have a question please, is Musang King the same as Mao Shan Wang?

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  3. There aren't three correct answers yet...so I'm going to let this run a little longer before declaring the winners :)

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  4. I made a little research on google and the flesh of the durian on this picture really coresponds to Musang King, with its beautifully yellow color. But I found the rind to be rather non-typical for Musang King.. Very confusing. :-) I am curious for the results. :-)

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  5. Two of you are right....who's wants to be the third and final winner?

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  6. Hanka, Vlk, and Florida Green Man, you are all right!

    This durian is NOT Musang King. It is a variety that is very similar called "Grand Old Lady" or Lao Tai Po.

    Please email me your mailing address to durianyear@gmail.com and I'll put a patch of your choice in the mail. Thanks for playing along!

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  7. Is it possible to find Musang King in Thailand and if yes, where? Maybe in bangkok or Chanthaburi?

    Thank you!

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  8. I haven't seen Musang King being sold in Thailand. I know for certain that they don't grow it in Thailand, but you might be able to find it in the frozen section at large, upscale supermarkets. I'll have to look around. My guess though, is that the Thais are proud/happy enough with their own durians, which they can get fresh, to bother with Malaysian durians.

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  9. The first photo demonstrated the fellow who took this photo don't know how to open an durian.

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    1. It was a lady, and I promise she is quite experienced opening durian :)

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  10. It's Red Prawn. Look at the thorns so short & far apart & how far apart are the 2 rows of durians.

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  11. so yummy! where is the best place to find musang king at Johor bahru? Im visiting around Johor bahru in october... any recommendation? :)

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    1. There are a whole bunch of stalls near the S-mart. I'm sure you'll find Musang King there :) Let us know if you go!

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    2. the best place where you can find musang king is in penang malaysia at bao sheng durian farm, you can learn a lot there about durian, and he will teach you how to choose a good quality of durian.

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    3. Hi Anonymous, thanks for your comment. Actually Musang King is not very popular on Penang as it doesn't grow very well. Bao Sheng grows few of them and does not recommend them. If you go to Bao Sheng, remember to ask for what is in season :)

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    4. Hi Lindsay, thanks also for your comment. Maybe its true that this kind of durian is not popular in penang or in Bao Sheng its because they kept it as stuff so you must ask this kind of durian But if you go to there market place a lot of musang king they sell there.

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    5. Thanks for your reply! Yes, you will find Musang King on Penang if you ask for it, but you will then expose yourself as a non-connoisseur ;)

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    6. Ok, NO comment! Im, just sharing my experience since then Im a durian lover.

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    7. I hope you will get a chance to go back to Penang again and compare the Musang King there to what you are familiar with. I am half-convinced it is a slightly different strain. Will look forward to hearing your opinion!

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    8. actually it is easy to identify musang king the clue is, the shape of the starfish below. Only musang king have that.

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  12. hi anonymous #2 (hehe) - thanks for reply.. since there is a trip to there.. going to sneak to eat durian while wife and kids are going to legoland (secret but wonderful plan) .. so can only go at johor bahru area.. @lindsay: smart, as in smart at pandan area? are there many types of durian over there? or only musang king?

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    1. Hi Anonymous, I am not certain about which area. We were only there a few days but we visited the S-Mart twice, just told the taxi driver to go there. It cost about 12 RM from the bus station to the durian stalls. The stalls were quite large and there were about four of them, if I remember correctly, with many many types of durian.

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  13. yes they have many types of durian there but the most popular is the D22 and the red prawn if you ask musang king maybe they have also,, you may try also to ask black thorn if they have, the most expensive durian than the musang king.

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  14. ah ok, thanks a lot :) thumbs up for ur information :)

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  15. Tank's for your information. very nice and help me to identifiecation musang king and d24

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  16. your explain is very nice, tank you

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  17. next season durian i hope go to penang, tank for your information

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So, whatcha think?

*Please remember, all photos published on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Year of the Durian and Lindsay Gasik . If you want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!