How D168 Came To Be Known As Durian IOI
When we consider that there are now hundreds of durian varieties that make their way into the market every year, it’s not really easy for a durian to make a mark in the durian world no matter how great it taste.
Especially when all current durian lovers probably have already been seduced by a favourite cultivar.
Even sellers might be crazy to load up on a new product when there is already a proven product such as musang king that promises huge demand at premium prices.
But in recent years, a durian has been slowly infiltrating the market stride by stride. And at this pace of growth, it’s full potential is anyone’s guess.
Even though this cultivar has been enjoying much more exposure in recent times, it’s not exactly a new entrant into the durian space as it’s registration date in the Malaysian list of crops was in 1989.
As one of the champion durians, D168 is also known as durian IOI, Johor mas, hajah hasmah and mas muar. It is sometimes marketed with the moniker wang zhong wang (王中王 or WZW) translated as the king of kings. This is a term that is sometimes used to market “premium” musang kings as well. So be careful not to be misled into buying IOI thinking it’s musang king.
It can also often be referred to as D101 or just 101. This is most probably due to sellers writing the short form of durian ioi as DIOI on hand-made signs. And consumers mistakenly see it as D101 instead of DIOI. D101 somehow caught on and became another alias.
I’ve also heard of unverified stories of how this durian made it’s name selling at the IOI mall in Kulai. And became known as IOI durian. Then as explained above, how IOI morphed into 101.
Officially, D101 is actually another type of durian that was registered in as far back as 1970.
The moment the number D168 was issued by MARDI for this cultivar, I guest the owner must have felt that it was destined for great things since 168 is a commonly known number combination which the Chinese culturally associate with prosperity.
The interesting thing is that durian IOI is one of the premium durians that appear to get considerably more fanfare from the Malay community than the Chinese community.
This fan base of following must have grown for quite a few years, possibly ever since the original owner grew the tree on his front yard in Maur, Johor.
Of the 12 durians that originate from Johor special enough to be registered, durian IOI is considered the bigdaddy of them all in terms of prestige. Maybe that’s why some find it worthy enough to be marketed with the catchy title WZW.
Features of D168 durian
The typical size of D168 can range from 1.3kg to 2kg. Saying that, it seldom approaches 2kg with the exception of really big fruits.
Even so, I have seen outliers in the range of 3kg.
It has an elongated shape where the top and bottom are usually comparable in diameter.
This is unlike other durians such as tekka where the bottom is almost always much narrower than the top.
In fact, if a class of durian can be categorized as perfectly oval, durian IOI is probable as close as you can get.
However, the colour distributed throughout it’s exterior is mostly homogeneous compared to other durians sharing a similar colour spectrum.
It’s spikes are dense and all over the place seemingly pointing at all sorts of directions in a fuzzy manner without any noticeable patterns or discipline. It can look like green fur when observed from a distance.
The size of the thorns are long, sharp, and can also be a complete mix of big and small, straight and curved, fat and thin, etc.
It is definitely one of the spikiest durians around. If there is such a thing as a durian hazard warning, then this is the one you absolutely must be wary of.
If hedgehogs evolved from mimicking the fearsome look of durians, they probably picked IOI.
You won’t be able to identify a consistent attribute, except that it’s consistently inconsistent.
The crown where spikes meet the stem is bald and surrounded by outward and upward reaching spikes. Similar to D24.
But for durian experts, the most unique feature of D168 is it’s straight and stocky stem which spots a somewhat consistent diameter throughout. Sometimes it can look too pristine to be real. This attribute might not be obvious to durian rookies.
The bottom of the durian where the seams meet is considered a bald indented star with the indent resembling that of the D24, but the star shape is not as outrageous as musang king.
This durian hides it’s seams pretty well. But areas on the husk where you can observe waves of thorns pointing in different directions is a clear giveaway of where the seam lines are.
For some reason, this is a surprisingly easy durian to open.
As you pry open the fruit, your might be mesmerized by the brilliant yellow colour of the flesh. Some might spill into the category of gold or orange. No matter what colour you determine it, the bold brilliance of the colour tone can take your breath away.
It is a perfect example of how durians look like when artists and designers draw them in illustrations.
Some would see an uncanny colour resemblance to mao shan wang. So be careful not to be tricked by naughty sellers who are trying to pass it off as such.
Some would also find that the appearance when opened resemble that of red prawn. Which is why it is sometimes referred to as Johor red prawn like D13. I have to admit that sometimes the pulps in pictures do look eerily similar to D13. But there would be a more observable difference when you see their fruitlets physically side by side.
The yellow pulp also often looks wrinkle-free in contrast to black thorn.
As you bite into the godly fruitlet, expect to taste a wet sweetness that some people describe as candy-like. It is definitely a sweet durian… with a slightly bitter after taste.
Some people express it as a much milder version of mao shan wang.
Fruits from older trees tend to have a stronger bitter taste. But it will still play second fiddle to the sweetness.
Despite it’s thick creamy flesh, it’s seeds are considered large by durian standards. Less rounded and more flat. So be careful and don’t go crazy with that first bite or you might hurt your teeth.
It’s also one of those durians where you can easily and cleanly peel off the flesh from the seed.
D168 harvest season
The supply of IOI durian typically starts to trickle into the distribution channels from May and can stretch all the way into early August.
The price is considered affordable at substantially below that of musang king. Durian sellers often price it as half or two-thirds that of musang king.
This means that if a seller is pricing musang kings at $21/kg, you can find D168 at around $12 to $15/kg.
It must be said however that D168 is not as popular in Singapore as most might expect.
At that price point, a lot of consumers might feel that going with a proven cultivar such as XO is a safer choice as they cannot be certain if they would like the sweetness of durian IOI.
But you never know.
In terms durian taste, one won’t be able to fully appreciate it’s taste until he or she gives it a try. But if you prefer sweet durians and cautiously avoid those that can come with strong bitter notes, there’s a high chance that you would love IOI.