What Is Chanee Durian Best Known For?
If you care enough about durians to do a little academic research into it, you’d inevitably find that a number of varieties have numeric names that have no bearing to it’s official registration number at all.
The registration number actually accompanies an official record of a particular cultivar made with MARDI. These registration numbers that start with D# are some of the most common marketing words used by durian sellers.
Then there are those that has adopted numeric names that do not reflect their official numbers at all.
Then there is D15 which is a durian that plays a prominent role in the world of durians in Malaysia, especially in Penang.
And this role is that it’s harvest signals the end of the durian season which we will discuss later.
D15 is actually a durian that originated from Thailand called Chanee. Qing ni (青尼) in Chinese.
It’s taste, flavour and texture is suited for the Malaysian market. Which is why it was initiated into it and plantations started cultivating them like one of their own.
However, there seems to be a mixup somewhere along the lines as some durianers recognize chanee as D177 while others insist that it is D123. It is usually known as D123 in most places other than the northern Malaysian states like Penang and Kedah where it is more commonly addressed as D15.
Well I guess this is not so important to consumers who just want to sink their teeth into it when it arrives in-season.
D15 can be referred to as chanee, Penang 15, juara 90, dinosaur egg, butter king, or just number 15.
It is also supposed to be the parent cultivar for green skin 15. The legend was that the first green skin tree grew out from a chanee seed in a beautiful freak accident. The number 15 in the name serves as a tribute to it’s ancestral roots. But that story cannot be substantiated. Lin Feng Jiao is also said to have grown out of a Chanee seedling.
It’s not often that a registered tree’s offspring gets registered as well. In a way, we might be able to say that D15 must be a durian tree with some pedigree to achieve such a feat.
Features of chanee D123 durian
Before we go on, it should be said that Penang Chanee is slightly different to Thailand Chanee. One of the obvious reasons is the climate. But also the cultivation practices of both nations are very different. So are the materials, feed, composting, fertilization, technology used, and horticultural nutrition in general.
It’s like a sports car that is driven by 2 very different drivers.
In view of the differences, referring to the Malaysian version of this durian as D15 instead of Chanee does make sense.
The size of D15 is pretty much what you’d imagine a durian to be. Not too small and not too big.
If you are to ask someone to gesture with their hands how big a durian typically is, the size they make out would be the general size of D15.
Saying that, it can also grow quite big and reach over 4kg at times. Not surprising as many types of Thai durians tend to grow to a considerable size.
While chanee found in Thailand generally comes with a green husk like green skin 15, D15 has a husk that is more brownish in color.
Farmers attribute this difference to the climate.
It also shares the same stem attribute with green skin where the top resembles that of the lip of a liqueur bottle.
The overall shape can be said to be oval or slightly elongated. But on closer inspection, you might notice that each segment of pods is moderately protruding, causing a bump on the husk. An attribute somewhat similar to Kun Poh.
The short thorns are huge, bold and blocky unlike durians with smaller more clustered spikes like IOI. They are also very space out making them look like proper pyramids.
The top rim area where the spikes meet the stem curves inwards like black thorn. And the bottom comes with a small indent like what can be observed on D24.
This is one funky looking durian.
As you open the durian, you could be astonished by how pulpy the lobes are. As if they are ready to pop and the flesh will spill over the chamber.
It can look too voluptuous and majestic to be real.
The fruitlets are typically light yellow in color. But I have seen them in shimmering golden yellow like mao shan wang. So YMMV.
The white funiculus area where the fruitlets are held to the core of the husk will look shredded as this is a cultivar with a lot of it. Maybe it has something to do with the big fruitlets.
But the best part of chanee D15 comes when you take that first bite.
It has probably one of the thickest flesh among durians. Even thicker than ganja.
You’d think that fruitlets so big would come with big seeds. But no, they are just regular sized.
It’s totally possible that even if you take a very big bite that you don’t encounter any sign of the seed. This is how fleshy it is.
The shock of filling a mouthful of durian flesh in one bite can raise your blood pressure. You have been warned.
The taste of D15 is a nice balance of sweet and bitter. But it’s aroma, taste and flavour is sometimes strong enough to be worthy of a premium fruit.
A savory taste without being too sweet nor too bitter. Just nice.
It’s not often we can say that in the durian realm.
It can also come with an alcoholic taste. This alcoholic taste that can sometimes be strong enough to go toe-to-toe with the balance of sweet and bitter. Completing the cosmic trinity of durian tasting.
How strong the alcoholic taste usually comes down to whether the fruit dropped from a young tree or old tree.
D15 chanee harvest season
As mentioned earlier, this is a durian with one of the latest harvest in the season. You will generally see them around July-August.
When you see them taking up precious shelf space in the stores, it’s like a bell that rings to signal the end of the school day. In this case, it’s the durian season.
Because of this, it is often seen on display together with ganja which is another late season durian.
Chanee found in Singapore are usually imported from Thailand. So they are not exactly D15.
The price of D15 typically hovers around $14/kg and can often go below that.
For the amount of yield that comes with chanee, it is definitely very good value for money if you don’t need a powerful flavour of something like musang king to tickle your taste buds.
For me personally, if I’m with friends and don’t find something that I’m specifically looking for at a durian stall, and D15 is available. I grab it as if by instinct as it will surely have a considerable yield. On top of that, it’s pretty affordable.