Malaysia’s durian supply this year is overflowing, and prices are dropping faster than you can shout, “Shut up and take my money!”.
Compared to 2017’s woeful harvest due to excess rain, the recent hot weather in Malaysia has caused durians to ripen quickly, leading to a massive bumper crop for the king of fruits.
It’s good news for lovers of the pongy delicacy, ’cos now your favourite fruit is cheap, very cheap, especially for the premium Mao Shan Wang (MSW), a popular varietal from Malaysia prized for its exceedingly buttery, intoxicatingly bittersweet, heady flesh.
A MSW addiction usually makes a major dent in your wallet, unless you’re buying them, like, now.
This year, MSW prices are as low as $10/kg (see photo gallery above), compared to last year’s high of $35/kg due to Malaysia’s erratic durian supply. During regular seasons, prices range from about $18 to $25/kg.
But don’t be alarmed if you see wildly differing prices for MSW at the same stall; according to a durian seller from Clementi stall Musang King, the cheaper ones are from Johor (usually Muar), which are apparently less flavourful and creamy than their more premium cousins from Pahang.
We bought from him a 1.5kg Johor MSW ($12/kg) and a Pahang MSW ($16/kg), and found the Johor one almost inedible, with dry, tasteless flesh, while the Pahang one was creamy and bittersweet like a good MSW should be. Hmm. Coincidence, or what? That being said, our colleague has had fab Muar MSW from other vendors in the past.
Adds Alvin Teoh, the towkay of Geylang durian stall Durian 36: “Pahang durians are creamier, more bitter and have smaller seeds than Johor ones."
Pro tip: when you find a good durian guy — stick with him. ’Cos if you flit from random stall to stall, be prepared that the best stuff will always be reserved for their regulars, not you. Or worse, you’ll get shysted (from our experience, finding a 100 per cent honest durian seller is as rare as finding a non-Ah Beng electronic shop salesman in Sim Lim Square).
To make sure you land yourself good MSWs — always taste the flesh first and firmly reject inferior durians before you commit to your purchase — here is a guide to buying MSW durians like a pro.
Due to the recent spike in durian supply, some vendors started giving out free durians earlier this week: Ah Lan Fresh Fruits Stall at Balestier Road gave away 300kg of durians (mostly varietals like D24, Golden Phoenix and Red Prawn), while Tampines stall Sam Fruit Trading generously gifted customers with 1,300kg’s worth of free durians.
As of now, Aljunied Crescent stall Wang Sheng Li Durian Station is giving away up to 800kg of free durians like Red Prawn and D24 on weekends till the end of the durian season, which vendors are expecting to last till September. So far, we don’t know of anyone giving away free Mao Shan Wang durians... yet.
Didn’t manage to snag any freebies? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Scroll through our photo gallery above for some of the cheapest Mao Shan Wang deals we’ve found in town. Prices are valid at the time this story was published (July 20).
As always, please call the individual stalls to check on availability before heading down, to avoid crushing disappointment.