The Unique Feature Of D164 604 Durian

If you have never been exposed to the world of durians, looking at a list containing the names of durian varieties might make you think that you are looking at a list of horses’ names at the races.

They can be so random and mystifying that defies all logic towards naming fruits.

But durian farmers are mostly fun loving people who joke around and always see the lighter side of things. You are not going to see them walking around with a swagger wearing power suits… even though many plantation owners are millionaires.

You won’t be able to pick them out from a crowd at the local grocery market.

And like almost anybody in the world of durians, they see the humour in how a cult following is growing by the day for a fruit so odd looking, so repulsively smelly to some, and yet packing a pleasure-arousing taste like nothing else on the planet.

Peerless is the word.

It’s even more ironically funny that a substantial portion of the western world think that it’s simply irrationally crazy for anyone to take such a fruit seriously.

But in this part of the world, and in this market, being less serious while managing a serious business might just be the formula to success.

This don’t-take-it-too-seriously approach and mindset is perhaps a big reason why durian cultivars can carry puzzling and wacky names.

Just look at the names red prawn, black thorn, centipede, or black pearl for example.

You’d be forgiven to think that those words actually describe what they literally mean. Yet they are actually the names of some of the most popular types of durian today.

People in this world of green spikes are generally not really into the branding and marketing technicalities of naming. A name is essentially an identifier.

Instead of putting too much serious thought into names, most originators would choose to go with words that intuitively comes to mind when looking at a particular durian… or something that makes absolutely no sense other than to see the confused faces of those hearing about a particular durian for the first time.

Then there are those with names that only the original founder would know the origins of.

One of those reputable durian clones come with the numeric name 604.

No this is not a reference to an official registration number of D604. This durian is actually D164 or D166 in the official records. Don’t ask me why there are 2 records.

It does not have a limited supply of only 604 each year. It does not measure 604 centimeters in length, height, breadth, radius or diameter. And it definitely does not cost exactly $604 per fruit.

So how did this name came about?

Your guess is as good as mine. But legend has it that the original farmer grew the mother tree on his farm land in Balik Pulau. And 604 was the organizational number that points to that particular tree. Something like sixth row fourth tree.

Maybe someday, Twitter or Facebook would fact-check that.

What is fact however, was that it then promptly won the Penang durian competition in 1987.

And no. There weren’t 604 judges at the competition.

Features of 604 durian

604 is a rather large durian often exceeding 2kg.

It generally has a rounding oval shape that can look very much like a green spiky egg that an alien mother hen had laid.

The thorns are big in size and impressively uniform most of the time. Reminding you of spiky worn by warriors during medieval times.

And the stem is typically short, seldom longer than your thumb.

A unique feature of it’s exterior husk is that the bottom base is often truncate or flat enough for it to stand up straight on it’s own. Not that it has legs like a dinner table, mind you.

This is one of the easiest durians to open up. It requires very little strength and effort to completely butcher. You will not have to huff and puff your way like with green skin.

If you want to pretend to be a gifted world-class durian opener who was born to do this, then choose 604.

Often times you don’t even have to hack or chop at the husk with your tool of choice. All you might have to do is gently push your knife into the seam and crank it open with a twist.

The thin exterior husk also means that this is a durian that is very easily damaged. Damage does not necessarily mean a punctured husk or one that is cracked open. A durian can very much stay intact while having it’s insides smashed.

Once opened, you will most likely see a line up of blocky fruitlets like a row of terrace houses. 604 fruitlets that leave a trailing tail are rare and usually come from very old trees.

Those who are creative and imaginative might see a resemblance to knuckles on a clenched fist.

The light-yellow meat of this durian is sweet, mildly bitter, with a hint of milky caramel flavour. The texture is sticky and creamy with little fiber.

Higher grade 604 tend to have a more golden yellow coloured flesh. It is less sweet and can carry a delightfully strong alcoholic taste that reminds you of mature wine.

Your taste buds would spin and align like a jackpot machine.

604 durian harvest season

604 has one of the earliest harvest around starting in April.

This reliable attribute has given it the reputation as the harbinger of the durian season. It’s like the alarm that wakes up the durian market after hibernating for months.

It’s the perfect starter to mark the beginner of the season.

Because of this early dropping off the tree, you can often see durian stalls with a display area dominated by 604. Because it’s the only cultivar in season.

However, it seldom stays in season for more than 3 weeks. The price seldom go above $8/kg which makes it a rather affordable indulgence. I’ve seen it go as low as $5/kg.

I personally like to see 604 in the stands as it is a sign of the fireworks to come soon.

But this also means that a bad harvest can be an indication of the general quality of durians for the year.

It is often said in the industry that 604 takes 84 days from flowering to the natural dropping of the fruit. This is a considerably shorter period of time compared to other cultivars that can go up to 120 days.

This means that if a farmer stands in the field and stares blankly at a 604 hanging on the tree, he can literally witness it grow bigger right before his eyes.

Just kidding. But you get what I mean 😀

With all that said, 604 is another one of those Penang durians along with others like Khun Poh and that is best consumed fresh on the island itself.