During this durian season, price have been way cheaper compared to last year. Everyone’s favourite variety – the Musang King (aka Mao Shan Wang) – can be bought from as low as $15/kg thanks to a bumper crop in Malaysia. This means you could get an entire fruit for just $8!
However, if you’re a genuine durian lover, price is no barrier. Just in case you haven’t heard, the most expensive durians ever was just auctioned off last week in Thailand – a whopping 1.5 million baht (about SGD65,300)! The durian in question is the very rare kanyao (or ganyao) variety from Nothonburi district, about 65km north of Bangkok. Usually, only top governmental officials and the very wealthy have the means and connections to get one.
But what makes kanyao so special? From the moment they fruit, the durians are swathed in plastic bags to keep out squirrels and rain, fed with homemade fertiliser concocted of fish parts, molasses, and yeast, and even covered with umbrellas to protect them from the sun. They’ve never been touched with any kind of chemical.
Durians from Nonthaburi have been famous for at least 400 years, and all commercial durian varieties – Monthong, Chanee, and Kop Med Tao – originated there; they can fetch over 300,000 baht (about SGD13,000) each.
Another durian variety to rival the Musang King’s price is the pungent J-Queen from Indonesia. Earlier this year, one of those was sold in Java for 14 million rupiah (about SGD1,300) – like the Ganyao, it’s also rare. According to the person who created this varietal, the J-Queen tree only fruits once every three years and supposedly has a “peanut and butter taste”.
Both the Ganyao and J-Queen are often grown in small-scale family orchards, and each durian is well taken care of by the farmers.
If you don’t want to spend that much money on durians, here is a rough guideline to durian prices in Singapore:
Ganja (smooth, creamy but bitter): from$8/kg
D24 (perfect balance of sweet and bitter): from $11-18/kg
XO (alcoholic aftertaste thanks to extended fermentation): from $12–$18/kg
Hong Xia/Red Prawn (sticky, very sweet and pungent): from $8/kg
Mao Shan Wang (sticky-creamy flesh): from $10-$20/kg
Wang Zhong Wang (well-balanced bitterness and velvety texture): from $18/kg
Black Pearl (rare and pricey, with small seeds): from $17/kg
Black Gold (greyish with silky custard consistency): from $17/kg
Mon Thong (creamy, custard-like texture with mild, sweet flavour): from $14/kg
Xiao Feng (fibrous but creamy with slight bitterness): from $10/kg