5 Durians As Good As MSW (or even better) When In Top Form
In the current durian market of Malaysia and Singapore, there is really very little doubt as to what is the top cultivar in the market.
The consumer demand for mao shan wang (MSW) absolutely dominates the market in every way.
This is so much the case in Singapore that it’s no exaggeration to say that maybe 80% or more of the durians on the market is MSW.
And this is no marketing gimmick or fancy story conjured up by a spin doctor. It is absolutely crazy how the masses are buying up musang kings like there’s no tomorrow.
You only need to take a bite into MSW to understand why… unless you are one of those who finds the aroma of durians similar to a rubbish point.
It is so delicious that feasting of MSW is slowly becoming a social activity. Sometimes when I ask friends what they did, they would say that they had durians. You won’t hear people reply that what they did was KFC.
But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other durian cultivars. Even knock-offs. And veteran durianers often say that those who only have MSW really don’t know what they are missing. It’s like going to McDonald’s and only ordering french fries all the time.
There are actually various other types of stupendously tasting durians that many experts insist are as good as, or even better than, musang king when they are in top form.
“Top form” is a market slang for top grade, top quality fruits from the harvest.
Let’s not forget that one of the key reasons for MSW to dominate the market today is not only it’s exquisite taste, but also because of it’s cultivation advantages. Which led to farmers favouring it over other types of trees.
The implication is that there are other godly cultivars around. Just that their lack of cultivation advantages mean that they don’t enjoy a huge supply.
What are some of them?
Is this even possible for other cultivars to dethrone the king? Or rival any other top cultivar for that matter?
I don’t think that I’ll need to explain that I don’t mean they taste just like musang king, but that that they hit that level 10 on the delightmeter like MSW is capable of doing very often.
Personal taste preferences can differ. So you will have to try them to find out for yourself. But many experts always mention the following durians when asked this question.
What durian is as good as, if not better than, musang king when in top form?
And I agree wholeheartedly with each of the following picks.
1) D2 Dato nina
It still puzzles me why dato nina does not have a widespread supply in the market today. Many sellers are not even able to procure them.
Even golden phoenix probably has a bigger supply than D2. And we can arguably say that it does not embody the same prestige as D2.
D2 is an old-timer of a durian originating from Melaka. It taste magnificent on it’s day. And has a good reputation as a premium to boot.
When in top form, the texture is sticky, the sweetness is alluring, the aroma is as mesmerizing as roasted honey, and the durian flavour nails it right on the spot like a baseball bat knocking the ball right out of the park.
Surprisingly, many durian lovers have not tried it before even though they have heard of it. Maybe because they are too loyal to MSW. And don’t want to spend their calorie quota on something they cannot be sure of.
From the first bite of genuine dato nina from an authentic old tree, it only takes an instant for you to recognize this as a peerless durian.
2) D24 Sultan
Unlike musang king where variants like black gold and highland MSW are essentially the same, D24 has sultan and XO that can sometimes taste markedly different.
The one I’m referring to here is the orginal D24 of Perak. The sultan king.
If you don’t know, sultan in the past enjoyed the same top dog status as musang king enjoys today. And it was able to command that demand and respect because it taste like royalty.
The supreme flavour hits you hard without attempting to knock you out. The aroma brings a twinkling noble magic into the air. And the gentle sweetness seduces you like the most erotic romance movie.
The mild alcoholic sensation adds a touch of class like a glass of red wine.
D24 can be found all over the place these days due to the farmer’s gold rush of the past. But D24 sultan in top form can actually be hard to come by. Especially in Singapore.
Maybe because top quality sultan gets gobbled up by the local Malaysia durian veterans in the know.
3) D158 Ganja
A lot of durian hunters still have a negative perception of ganja because they cannot get over the fact that it has Thai origins.
This is one big reason why they have not given this durian a go.
This is actually good for me as there would be lesser consumers to compete against me for the best ganja durians.
But if I just forget my selfishness for just a moment, I can honestly say that ganja in top form is at another level altogether. The floral taste feels like the cheerful sun shining down again after a heavy downpour and makes it unique among the durians stated here.
The durian flavour is engulfing without being overwhelming. Deftly balancing on the line that separates what is considered too much and too little. And I won’t be surprised to find that the name is a reference to how addictive this durian can be.
Remember to see a Doctor when suffering from withdrawal symptoms during the off-season. Or call a depression hotline to seek emotional support until the season kicks start again.
You wouldn’t believe the internal struggle I am having for letting this cat out of the bag.
On the one hand I would love to share the love of aromatic ganja with fellow durian hunters. On the other hand, it might lower my chances of securing top D158 for myself… maybe just a bit.
I’ll just say go try it. You will not regret it.
Don’t forget that this is the durian that made headlines by selling for almost $50,000 in an auction in Thailand.
4) D160 Tekka
Tekka is a durian that has an insane following. And the fanatics are more than happy for consumers to keep chasing musang kings so that the tekkas are left for them.
On that first bite into top form tekka from Selangor, the taste is so intensively complex that it feels like being slapped around by a bulky bodybuilder who has grabbed you by the neck.
You will see stars as you look up. As if feeling high on Vodka.
I’ve seen people left stumped like a zombie on cough syrup and need a few moments to compose themselves. Once they snap out of that drunken stupor and realise that they are still on planet earth, they then proceed to devour the fruitlets like an industrial machine running on overdrive.
Tekka in top form is not for the faint-hearted. It taste as powerful, if not more powerful, as MSW. But the flavours that pop in your mouth and tickle your taste buds are remarkably different. And when it’s done with you, you’d wake up with a numbing mouth feeling a little violated wondering what hit you.
If you would indulge me with my metaphors…
MSW and tekka is like running and swimming. They are both high intensive workouts, but bring so much pleasure in very different ways.
5) D175 Red prawn
Whenever I see people rave about how good the red prawns they are having at a stall are when it is actually D13, I smirk a little and roll my eyes.
Not because I despise D13, but that it does not do justice to the real red prawn which is D175 from Penang.
If you are a basketball fan, how weird would it seem if another player calls himself Michael Jordan? Very weird right!
Or if you are a fan of Jay Chou, would it seem strange that a new debut artist is marketed with that name too?
Anyway red prawn has a decorated heritage and celebrated in Penang. And it has earned this reputation not from hiring an expensive PR consultant. It did it the old-fashioned way of pleasuring taste buds by being a really delicious durian.
The uniqueness of red prawn in this list is that it has the most watery texture. So much so that as you grab it with your fingers, the flesh would glide down your fingers like ice-cream on a toasty waffle.
It has a flavour like berry yoghurt naturally fused with durian from the oldest of old trees served with champagne. The sweetness is cultured, with a hint of bitter aftertaste to top it off.
For those who don’t like heavily bitter durians, this is absolutely top drawer stuff.
You won’t be able to appreciate red prawns cultivated in other states after you’ve tried the real deal from Penang. No exaggeration.
So if you are ready to move on from musang king and wonder how to take a step up instead of a step down, these are the other durians to try.
However, do note that I’m only referring to these cultivars in tip top form. And this don’t always depend on how fat your wallet is.
Whether you’d be able to get these durians in such caliber depends on luck or your relationship with your favorite vendors. Visiting a reputable farm is your best bet.