A Guide To Different Durian Flavour Profiles

Spike up your knowledge on thorny issues with this handy guide.
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Hate it or love it, durian has assumed the throne as king of fruit for a long time now. The custard-coated seeds hidden within the thorny husks are known for their strong smell, yet many would pay top dollar for the ripe fruit when the season arrives. Here, we round up 5 of the most popular durian varieties and their flavour profiles.
Mao Shan Wang

This baby needs no introduction. One of the most highly sought after durians in Hong Kong, Mao Shan Wang is almost like the 'Kinder Surprise' of durians, with the unusual combination of both bitter and sweet flesh (sometimes even bittersweet) in one fruit. This means, you almost never know what you're in for until you bite into that smooth creamy flesh. Soft, with an aftertaste that lingers, it's easily well worth the surprise.
Mao Shan Wang durian
Mao Shan Wang durian
D24

Unlike its comrades, the distinctive aroma of the D24 hides the neutral flavours of the fruit. Slightly less overwhelming in flavour, the D24 is one fruit that you could keep on eating without getting too sick of it. While thick and creamy, it's safe to say that the D24 is an easy introduction to ease into the strong-smelling fruit for first-timers.

Red Prawn

Perhaps the sweetest durian in town, the Red Prawn (hong xia) gets its name from its vibrant orange-red flesh tone. Creamier than other types of durian without the usual hint of bitterness that comes with most, the Red Prawn has wonderfully smaller seeds, giving you more of the deliciously honeyed flesh to pucker on.
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Black Pearl

Slightly pricier as it's a rarer find, the Black Pearl doesn't look like much, with its pale yellow flesh that has lightly bruised sections. Appearances aside, this gem of a fruit is surprisingly light for a durian, smooth with very little fibre in the flesh, and has a familiar bitter-sweetness that makes it easy to enjoy without being too overwhelming.
XO

If you find yourself just a touch more drowsy after a durian feast (and not because you overdid it again of course), then it's none other than the intoxicating XO durian that you've just feasted on. Strong and bitter with a thick, almost watery flesh, the XO has an aftertaste that is likened to alcohol from being left to fermented for longer inside its shell before being arriving at your table.
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