Know your Durian – Durian 101

It's durian season now! Are you a durian lover or not?

Durian, known as the 'king of fruits' in Malaysia, has a unique charm worth exploring. Growing in tropical countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, this fruit may have a tough and thorny exterior, but inside lies its soft and creamy flesh. Its distinct aroma is either loved or hated by people.

While the majority of Malaysians enjoy durian, some consider it a 'devil fruit' due to perceived health concerns. But is this perception accurate?

Let's dive in to know!

Nutrition Value 

Durian is a nutritious fruit.


Durian is a rich source of carbohydrates, providing instant energy to the body. Durian contains 2 types of carbohydrates, complex carbs and simple carbs, which provide the sweetness of the fruit.


As a fruit, durian contains a significant amount of fibre. Fibre is essential for maintaining a healthy bowel movement.


Unlike most of fruits, durian does contain some fat. The majority of the fat is healthy monosaturated fat. However, consuming in excess can bring negative impacts too.


The king of fruit is also a few of the fruits that contain some protein. However, the amount is too minor that it is not suitable to be considered as a protein source. 


Besides the major nutrients, durian is rich in vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and several B vitamins.


Durian is high in potassium, which is crucial for maintaining proper heart and muscle function. Besides, it is rich in magnesium, copper and manganese. 


Durian is high in potassium, which is crucial for maintaining proper heart and muscle function. Besides, it is rich in magnesium, copper and manganese. 

Type of Durian

If you are a durian lover, surely you will know there are a lot of varieties. Below are some famous varieties of durian in Malaysia, check if you have tried them before! If you are not, then the list is a reference for you. 

Musang King (Mao Shan Wang)

Musang King is arguably the king of the durian. It’s mainly from Pahang and Kelantan. Musang King is known for its creamy, golden-yellow flesh with a bittersweet taste and a strong, distinctive aroma. The flesh is thick and sticky, making it highly prized among durian enthusiasts.


D24 also referred to as “Sultan”, is another popular durian variety, characterized by its pale yellow flesh and a rich, buttery taste. It has a mild sweetness and a creamy texture that melts in the mouth. The aroma is pleasant, with hints of bitterness, caramel and vanilla.


XO durians are known for their intense and complex flavours. The flesh is golden-yellow with a smooth and creamy texture. It offers a combination of sweet, bitter, and alcoholic notes, which gives it the name "XO" after the aged alcoholic beverage.

Red Prawn (udang Merah, Ang Heh)

Red Prawn is named after its colour. It has a reddish hue on the outside and creamy orange flesh inside. They are known for their sweet and slightly bitter aftertaste, often described as having a caramel-like flavour. The texture is smooth and custard-like.

Golden Phoenix (Jin Feng)

Golden Phoenix durians are medium to large-sized fruits with a distinctive bright yellow husk. The flesh is pale yellow and has a sweet, and bitter aftertaste. It is often praised for its smooth and creamy texture.

Black Thorn

Black Thorn durians are highly regarded for their rich, creamy texture and distinctive bittersweet taste. The flesh is pale yellow, and it is known for its unique blend of flavours, including hints of chocolate and caramel. The planting environment is very demanding, thus it is sacred.

Green Skin (Tekka)

Green Skin durians have a pale green husk and pale yellow flesh. It has a mildly sweet taste with a hint of bitterness. The texture is firm and fibrous, making it a favourite among those who don’t prefer custard-like texture durian.

Hor Lor

Hor Lor durians are small to medium-sized fruits with a pale yellow husk. The flesh is pale yellow and has a smooth, creamy texture. It is known for its sweet and mild flavor, making it a good choice for those who prefer a less overpowering durian taste.

How do Malaysian eat durian?

Well, the most common and best way to enjoy durian is by consuming the ripe fruit as is. Besides, durian is widely used in other culinary preparations, such as dodol, baked goods, desserts like pudding and ice cream, and pancakes.

Some of us eat rice together with durian!

Myths and Facts about Durian (and some FAQ!)

1. Is that true that durian is very heaty, so you must eat mangosteen (which is cold) to balance it

Malaysian, specifically the Chinese community, think eating durian can cause heatiness and need to be eaten with mangosteen, which has a “cooling” property. This is more likely to be a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM ) concept. While in modern medicine perspective, there’s no evidence that associate durian with heat or fever. On the contrary, if you eat mangosteen after durian, there is a chance that you might eat too much fruit at one time. And this is not advisable for people with diabetes.

2. Drink salt water from durian husk after eating durian

Some of us like to pour salt water into the empty durian husk and drink it after eating durian. It is believed this can reduce heatiness and also “kill the germ” in the durian. While it is a good practice to drink more water to reduce heat, it is unnecessary to drink from the husk. 

3. Durian contain cholesterol

Like santan, durian is also being misunderstood. Durian does not contain cholesterol. Cholesterol can only be found in animal-based food like meat, dairy and seafoods. However, durian is one of the few fruits that contain fat.

4. You cant eat durian together with alcohol (our Muslim friends can skip this)

There is no evidence stating that eating durian together with alcohol can cause fatal. However, when you consume both at the same time, the liver has to work extra hard to metabolise as alcohol itself is harder to metabolise than other food. Thus, it is likely to cause bloated, indigestion and stomach discomfort instead of killing you.

5. How many can I eat (insert the link of the fruit post)

Please refer to this post: 

6. Can people with diabetes eat durian?

Absolutely! People with diabetes can consume durian, but should do so in moderation. As durian is high in both complex and simple carbohydrates, eating an excessive amount can cause a spike in blood glucose.

7. Can people with kidney disease eat durian?

Durian is a fruit that is relatively high in potassium, and those with kidney disease often need to limit the potassium intake due to the impaired ability of the kidneys to filter potassium from the blood.
Ask advice from your healthcare provider if you’re considering eating durian. 

8. Can cancer patient eat durian?

Yes. Durian is considerately high-calories food. For cancer patient who has poor appetite, it is a good idea food option for them to increase calories intake. Besides, durian’s texture is soft, it’s easier for some patient who are easily fatigue to consume.

However, due to the strong taste, not every people can accept it. For patient who are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy, consuming durian might not be suitable if they are facing taste change and durian might trigger them.

The bottom line

In conclusion, durian, the revered "king of fruits" in Malaysia, holds a special place in the hearts of many, while others remain divided due to its strong aroma and unique taste. 

If you are a durian enthusiasts, remember to control yourself while enjoying the heavenly taste of durian! 

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