Damak King Is A Kampung Durian With A Premium Stature
The average durian consumer will be aware of maybe 5 cultivars. And some part of them will instinctively know that for every delicious durian they have tried, there are probably 10 more tongue-pleasing cultivars that they would have never heard of.
Well there’s nothing wrong with knowing just a few durians.
When I walk into McDonald’s, I order Chicken McCrispy. I don’t even know 90% of the menu. I didn’t need to know them as I already know what I need to get my fix. And up to recently, I didn’t even know that I could customize my burgers when ordering via the kiosks. But every once in a while, they release something new like the Samurai Burger that is just so delightful.
There are hundreds of different types of durians. And that’s without counting wild kampung durians that are harvested by the thousands.
Whether it’s Johor, Pahang, Selangor, Perak or Penang, there are various duran varieties other than musang king that most consumers will have never heard of.
Many of them eventually end up getting registered with MARDI by farmers who fell in love with them. A couple of examples are D212 and D225. Which up to as recent as a year ago were considered kampung durians… with a name.
With that said, many farmers just don’t see the pull factor of registering their varieties with MARDI. It takes money, time, effort, and many other resources to do that. And they are more than willing to continue embracing their kampung durians.
To give more exposure to this segment of kampung durians, the Malaysian agriculture agencies have carved out a new niche called durian kampung premium.
One of the durians that sits at the top of this pyramid is Damak King. 南嘜王 in Chinese or Tok Mereh in Malay.
Damak is a quiet village town nestled in Pahang state. And while Pahang is obviously famed for musang king (MSK), there are also quite a few cultivars that can very well hold their own in terms of reputation. Such as the glorious D145 berserah. Just that when you compare them to the stature of MSK, everything else pales in comparison.
Technically a kampung durian, Damak king is named after the town and has garnered such a illustrious reputation over the years that the price that it retails at is comparable to MSK. Sometimes even exceeding it due to the short supply.
Kampung durian by name. Premium status by price.
It became a champion durian in 1990.
Features of damak king durian
This is a big sized fruit that frequently exceeds 3kg. The even bigger ones can easily hit 4kg-5kg.
The thorns are pyramidal in shape. But the size of the thorns can vary on different areas of the husk. Segments of the fruit where the fruitlets bulge will have much bigger thorns. So the lobes of fruitlets in the segments don’t just cause the thorn arrangement to sparse out. But also appear to cause them to fat out.
Other than that attribute, the thorn arrangement is rather uniform like hock beng 13.
For such a large durian, opening it is surprisingly easy. The natural glue holding the segments of rind together is not as strong as the impression damak king gives.
Insert a small knife into the seam and the durian can crank open with just a twist. It’s like a mythical treasure chest waiting for it’s rightful owner to arrive with the key to open it… and fulfill the prophecy.
This is when a paradox can appear. The husk is quite thick. Which is understandable for such a big fruit. You’ll be scratching your head wondering why it seemed so effortless to pry open without the introduction of a sledgehammer.
With the durian split open in half, the appearance of damak king reminds me of a khun poh on steroids. The obvious difference however, is of course, the colour of aril being yellow somewhere between hor lor and musang king.
The appearance of the fruitlets itself is thick fleshy temptation in the manner of black thorn. But the shape can also spot curves in the arena of hor lor. The texture of the skin is also rough like black thorn unlike those with smoother skin like green skin.
The sumptuous serving of flesh would give D14 a run for the money.
The consistency is smooth creaminess with little fiber. It taste bittersweet like an old tree D88 but with more intensity. More sweet than it is bitter. And the flavour is close but not yet at the level of top quality MSW.
Because of how thick the flesh is and the extra-large size of damak king, one single fruit might be able to serve as a meal replacement for a small family.
And the seed is flat resembling that of MSW.
Damak king harvest season
This durian has a mid-season harvest.
While the number of farms that carry this kampung durian is not small, it can be very difficult to procure.
A big reason for this is partly due to the place of origin being in Pahang.
Wholesalers and distributors in this area are mostly, and understandably, focused on musang king together with it’s upstream and downstream products. They are already so busy delivering their services to retailers and consumers. Throwing another cultivar into the mix can disrupt the streamlining of operations.
With that said, you can forget about getting damak king outside of Pahang. Durian hunters are already converging in that state for it. The chances of it getting out of the area is futile.
I have to admit. When I first tried this durian, it didn’t catch my attention as I was disoriented by a tekka that was sending compulsive vibrations throughout my mortal body from head to toe. But when I was told the price that damak king was selling at, I went “WHAT?!”. Then gave it the attention it commanded and realized that it wasn’t the average durian.
And if you are one who can only appreciate bitter durians, you might not rank this in your personal top 10. If you love sweet durians, this is one that deserves to be in your bucket list.