How Tekka Durians Came To Be Known As Musang Queen

The tekka durian is one of those cultivars that flies under the radar while the more popular ones grab all the attention.

But then it quietly has a loyal following who would not rate any other types of durian, including musang king, above it.

In fact, the tekka is often affectionately known as the musang queen.

That says a lot about how highly revered this particular cultivar is in the minds of it’s fans.

The word “tekka” is actually not a mandarin word, but a hokkien dialect word. With “tek” translated as bamboo, and “ka” meaning leg.

This durian also has the pet names tracka, bamboo leg and also goes by the moniker zhu jiao (竹脚) in Chinese. It is also sometimes referred to as green bamboo (绿竹) pronounced as lu zhu.

It has no relation to the geographic area of the same name in Singapore where it is often sold.

It’s official call sign is D160 in the registrar of Malaysian crops.

The origins story takes us back to the 1980s in the small town of Tanjung Sepat in Selangor when a farmer realized that the fruits of his durian trees were turning out to be something special.

These days, it is found in plantations across various states including Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Johor, etc.

Feature of Tekka durians

Tekkas tend to come in considerable size that looks bulky and oval shaped.

A single whole durian of the bigger range can easily weigh over 3kg. The biggest I’ve seen with my own eyes was about 5 freaking kilograms!

However, the oval is just an expression as the fruit don’t come in perfect oval. The bottom of the husk is usually noticeably wider than the top.

It may resemble the shape of kidney beans to some observers.

And the “navel” where the seams meet at the bottom tend to be protruding and some people would describe it as pointed. It won’t be able to stand upright on it’s own without falling over.

The colour of the husk is sort of a mesh-up of green and brown. It’s a dull shade that cannot be considered anywhere near bright or pastel.

If a soldier wearing camouflaged uniform is hiding behind tekka durians, the chances are that you would see the soldier but will not see the durians… unless he start prying it open to eat it uncontrollably of course.

The concave thorns of this big boy can look huge, which is understandable as it’s a large-sized species.

However, if we are to look at it from a scientifically proportionate perspective, these spikes are comparable to black thorn, but packed more closely together compared to musang king. Yet they are not as compact as what you see on other durians with closely positioned spikes such as D24.

The spikes also look like spherical cones liken to ice cream cones flipped upside-down.

At the crown where the spikes on the husk meets the stem, thorns start to curve towards the stem. Making it a hazardous part of the fruit which people should be careful of when handling via the stem.

At the bottom where the seams open, the seams are not very obvious, and the seams would probably turn out right on the spikes as well.

This means that when you crank open this bad boy, you would be able to see various spikes that have been split open into halves.

While other durians can also have this feature, tekka tends to be more hardcore into it.

The stem is average long like most of the premium cultivars.

The seams on this durian can be curved and hooked. So do be cautious when opening it to avoid hurting yourself in a durian accident.

Often times, you won’t be able to cleanly crank it open nicely. The odds are that the husk would break from your forceful pulling while the inner seams remain strongly intact like being held together by industrial superglue.

If you are unable to identify tekka durians when they are unopen, the most unique feature of this variety reveals itself when open.

This is the ridge or seam situated at the center of the durian. It resembles a drain filled with residue with the colour of the durian flesh itself. Black thorn also shares this characteristic.

I call this as residue as I don’t consume it. But there’s nothing stopping others from licking and sucking that part dry. This segment of the fruit is also often referred to as the red heart.

The fruitlet itself has an inviting yellow creamy colour and carries a puffy look that makes you drool with anticipation.

The skin membrane standing between you and the flesh looks amazing smooth by durian standards and you’d be forgiven to be reminded of botox.

If you are bold enough to put the whole fruitlet into your mouth, you’d not only realise that you have a big mouth, but also that the seed is of a smaller size compared to other durians. Definitely below average.

The creamy meat itself has a sweet strong flavour with a hint of bittersweet. Couple this with it’s mesmerizing but far from overpowering aroma, it’s no surprise that this is a favorite among cultured durian lovers.

It is one of those varieties where you don’t want to swallow immediately. Let it mush around in your mouth while you savour the complexity of flavours with your tongue.

The bitterness is complex enough that I cannot find descriptive words that will do it justice. It is definitely a different manner of bitterness. You will have to try it to find out for yourself what I mean.

Bigger green bamboos tend to come with a layer of harder fiber within the flesh. Which can be annoying to some. If you don’t know what this means, just take a look at what you are left with on the seed when you finish stuffing all the flesh into your mouth.

The level of aroma and flavour is just right instead of all-conquering.

This feature can be apparent when newbies who have started on musang kings try tekka durians, they might find that the latter lacks a punch.

But the reality as the veterans would insist, is that if you start off with a dish that is too salty, every dish after that would taste bland.

The implication is that if you are buying durians as gifts to elderly hosts who appreciates the fruit, tekka might impress them more than the more popular ones.

Tekka harvest season

Tekka supply generally peaks in August. With early harvest starting to trickle in from the end of July.

Even though they don’t have a huge supply comparable to mao shan wang, they are not as rare as black thorn too.

The best quality tekkas tend to be congregated in Kuala Lumpur as the old tree inventory makes the short trip to the capital city.

The price of tekka tends to hover slightly lower than musang king at around $18 to $23 per kilogram. Seldom going above the king (if ever).

For those who prefer the yin-yang balance of tekka rather than the in-your-face nature of musang king, this pricing offers great value for money.

And if the large looking fruit is too tempting to conquer that you have to buy the whole thing home to gut it yourself, just remember to follow some of the proven ways to choose one that is ripe.