5 Types Of Durians Commonly Sold As Fake MSW
Even though the mega supply of musang king durians has started to hit ridiculously high levels, it is really amazing to see that the price of this premium cultivar is able to continue holding such a luxurious price.
Basic durian economics 101 should tell us that the price of this durian should have dropped dramatically by now. Yet it is still holding steadily season after season… with the exception of freakish harvests.
Just look at D24.
Once the darling of durianers commanding the best prices has now stoop to levels lower than less celebrated cultivars.
The strength of mao shan wang’s (MSW) price indicates that the demand for this durian is probably the highest that the industry has ever seen.
This is unlike other top cultivars like black thorn and tupai 226 whose high prices are currently very much due to low supply. Whether the market prices of these 2 types of durians would be able to hold remains to be seen in the coming decade.
While the premium prices of MSW is generally frowned upon by consumers, these market prices are actually very attractive in the eyes of durian sellers.
And there will always be bad apples who will try to pass off cheaper durians as MSW so as to book a higher margin and beef up their bottom lines.
Sad to say. Everyday, regular consumers are being duped into buying durians thinking that they are MSW. And they don’t even realise that they are being taken for a ride after eating it. In these cases, ignorance is bliss.
I have been tricked by sellers too in the past. And it really left a bad taste in my mouth. I take these experiences as paying school fees in learning the trade.
Many buyers who realise that they’ve been scammed fight back by confronting sellers and posting negative reviews online to call sellers out on their bluff. But prevention is better than cure.
The best thing to do is to be knowledgeable enough not to be cheated again. And I think most durian lovers would agree with that. You can never be too vigilant and diligent in this market.
Since musang king has a typical yellow aril that epitomizes the colours of durian flesh, there are many other durians that look very similar to it.
Just look at any illustration of durian you can find. And you’d probably see that the yellow depicted in the artwork can be a representation of MSW.
So it is very easy for other similar looking durians to pose as MSW. Especially when people buy dehusked durians from boxes where they cannot inspect the husk to ascertain or verify the cultivar.
Here are some of the most common types of durians sold as fake musang kings by unscrupulous sellers.
It is actually registered in the MARDI registry as D123 and more commonly known as D15 in Penang.
It is a huge fruit that spots thick bright yellow aril that easily passes off as MSW to the unsuspecting.
The even better part is that it is low costs. Perfect for the scheming sellers who practice sleight of hand in their free time.
It also has a sporadic harvest that intermittently enters the market by the baskets. Making it an ideal choice to pose as fake mao shan wang throughout the year.
When I visit durian farms off-season, guess what is the most common durian tree that always seem be fruiting? Chanee.
If Mr Musang King is to conduct an interview for another durian to act as doppelganger, chanee D15 will be one of the top candidates to be cast.
That is… until the next candidates steps onto the stage.
D88 xiao tian tian is another durian with a scattered harvest throughout the year even though it has a main season in the middle of the year.
The pulps of D88 can look so similar to those of MSW that if you are to extract the fruitlets and place in a plastic box, even some experts might be deceived based on just the appearance.
It can sometimes also spot the same sharpei wrinkles that top quality old tree MSW are know for.
Want it to appear brighter and more golden? Use a black box to create the colour contrast that makes the durian glitter with celebrity status.
What’s even more amusing is that D88 is actually a pretty decent tasting durian. Sometimes with bitter notes just like the real mccoy.
This can really throw people off the scent of genuity when they are enjoying D88.
Some might think that since they have bought what is supposedly MSW, and loving it, then it must be MSW.
The fat lobes of flesh in this durian sure adds to the feeling of luxurious yield.
Durian IOI, D101 or whatever you want to call it is a very versatile durian with an ability to look like more than one other type of durian.
It can sometimes carry a yellow that is the direct copy of MSW, and sometimes spot a orange-red shade that reminds one of D13. And more.
This is like that handsome friend of yours who looks like Andy Lau from the front, then looks like Aaron Kwok from the side.
There would be little confusion between IOI and MSW if the former tastes like crap.
The problem is that D168 is considered a premium durian… that embodies a premium taste. So this can trick the uninitiated into thinking that it’s MSW level of premiumness.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that IOI can taste like MSW. But that it carries a premium taste just like the various premium cultivars including musang king.
This can also be said of horlor which also carries a vivid yellow look and taste like sweet paradise. But horlor is not cheap for sellers to buy even at wholesale price. So you will seldom see horlor labeled as MSW… unless some maverick seller has ordered more stocks that he could shift and is a facing a mad rush to clear them.
In addition, IOI is often marketed as wang zhong wang (王中王) aka the king of kings. A title that immediately brings MSW to mind. Because if there is a durian has earned that moniker, there’s probably no other as deserving as MSW with how it has blanketed the market.
You might think that it’s absurd to think that IOI can be used as counterfeit of musang king. They taste so different and the seeds differ so much in size and shape.
You are right. But there are many consumers who don’t know that. And many would have bought wzw thinking it’s msw.
You are also underestimating the bad sellers’ will to deceive. They can just send out fake boxes of MSW intentionally and “test” to see if the receiver realises it or complains about it. Then pretend that it was an “honest” mistake and will replace the durians with “mistaken” identity with new ones. The catch is that you have to place another order to receive the replacements.
Yes. As I often say. It’s a wild world out there in this industry.
And most of us only see the battle between sellers and consumers. These battles can get wilder between middlemen, agents, sellers, distributors, farmers, and even food manufacturers.
D13 is another very decent tasting durian available in the market at a very affordable price. But it tends to have a bad rap among connoisseurs because of how sellers like to label it as red prawn. Doing a disservice to the real red prawn of Penang.
The colour profile of it’s aril can range from bright yellow to orange yellow.
Those that are bright yellow can easily be disguised as MSW by dishonest sellers.
Because of it’s low cost, huge supply, high yield and taste consistency, there are various advantages for dressing it up as fake MSW from a business perspective.
The giveaway is the D13 fruitlets are usually quite small. Considerably smaller than the average size of black gold pulps of MSW.
5) Kampung durian
When you meet durian hunters who love the unpredictability of kampung durians, they may tell you that these non-registered cultivars can be further classified as mountain durians, wild durians and kampung durians.
Whatever term you’d like to call them, I’m referring to those very affordable nameless durians that cost as little as 50 cents per fruit and almost never above $5 a fruit. Let’s just call this whole category kampung durians for this discussion’s sake.
With these types of durians, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.
No one can tell with absolute certainty what you are going to get inside. The only person I know of who is able to tell with a high degree of accuracy is a certain enigmatic Mike Lee. But that’s a story for another day.
Kampung durians can look like any cultivars you can think about. It really depends on your luck. Which is why durianers like to call this tikam tikam which means trying for luck somewhat akin to gambling.
And of course, some of them spot brilliant rich yellow just like MSW. Into the styrofoam box written as MSW they go!
The thing is that kampung durians are cheap. Sellers can easily build up a huge inventory of them. But while most sellers would not pass them off as more famous durians, there are also those who would not bat an eyelid to fraud and do it. Maybe because they are desperate to avoid business catastrophe.
The durian business is not an easy one to operate and they might resort to such behaviour just so that they can pay the rent or recoup whatever they can from the losses. At the same time, remember that the consumers do not owe them a living too.
6) Low quality MSW
Alright this is not really a different cultivar. But I think it is fully appropriate to list this here as well because this is the most widespread MSW misrepresentation and malpractice today.
Even on a good day, a durian seller could end up with as much as 20% of new arrivals in bad condition. On a bad day? As high as 50%.
Because they bulk order these fruits wholesale, they will still be invoiced for the fruits.
Those who feel that short term survival is more critical than long term brand reputation would have no qualms selling these low quality fruits as premium stuff.
Just put the fruitlets salvaged from bad durians into a box and write old tree highland AAA black gold on them. Or conduct a live sale labelling all of them as top grade where viewers are unable to inspect the durians themselves.
Which is why I think that purchasing durians from live sales is just asking for trouble. If you go play at the beach, don’t complain when you get sand in your eyes.
It won’t surprise me at all that at least half of MSW that are supposedly marketed as premium black gold do not come from a special top quality direct source like they all claim. As if farmers use fertilizer from Wakanda and the tree plant photosynthesize on the cosmic sunlight from Betelgeuse. Maybe tartar sauce la.
They just come from the regular farms. And the shady sellers decide for themselves that it’s highland BG.
Sometimes boxes of dehusked durians line up at the store with no label. But when you ask what cultivar they are, you won’t be given a straight answer. This is in the hope that the prospect would think that they are MSW.
I’ve can recall an incident when I was looking at some yellow flesh durians displayed in boxes at a stall. The seller then pointed to the box I happen to be looking at and said “Wow! This looks like MSW!”. Lame.
On another occasion, I asked what what the heck is tai shang wang fully knowing that its MSW with a fancy name. And seller replies that it is a new cultivar one level above MSW. My head hurts from just remembering that exchange.
Finally, I’d just say that with the high prices of mao shan wang and the heavenly taste that it come with, it’s worth physically going down to a stall to get them fresh. You are less likely to be cheated with fake musang kings onsite when you are able to inspect the fruits with your own eyes and hands.