How to identify a Musang King Durian – don’t’ get cheated. Meet Rob & Lindsay of  Year of the Durian [Durian Part 2]

My durian posting about Melanie & Tobias of MT World and an interview with Ah Wai, “King of SS2 Durians” attracted durian lovers from around the world. (see Durian Part 1).


Melanie of MT World displaying the clear 5 point star seams with flattened thorns @ Ah Wai SS2 Durian store.


Stinky tofu, Mongkok Hong Kong

About smelly foods
In South East Asia many locals are durian lovers and consider “durian as the King of Fruits”. We know that foreigners are put off by the smell of the durian just like locals are put off by say smelly blue cheese, or stinky tau fo (“chow tau foo” in Cantonese) with its various versions in Hong Kong (I rate it as the #1 best), China, Taiwan, and in Malaysia’s “Pasar Malam” (suburban night markets).


So I was pleasantly surprised that there are quite a few Westerners who very passionate about durians like me, and are blogging about durians.

Hey, I’ll promote anyone who are passionate and blogs about Malaysian durians – Malaysian durians are the #1 world’s best. Yes, of course I’m biased I’m a Malaysian lol. Welcome to Malaysia!

Rob & Lindsay

One coupe that contacted me is Rob & Lindsay. I browsed through their website and there have some great articles. Since not many durian lovers know how to identify a Musang King, here’s one of their informative articles.

5 tips to identify a true Musang King, as taught to us by the Musang Queen herself, Tina Chong.

Like Rob & Lindsay

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.

Read Rob & Lindsay’s Year of the Durian top 5 posts:

Durian and Alcohol