One of Singaporeans’ favourite pastimes is eating, and durian is definitely one food that almost everyone loves indulging in. In fact, we take eating durians so seriously that there is a joke about how Singapore only has two seasons: durian season, and no-durian season.
Are you a die-hard durian fan, or recently discovered your love for the King of Fruits? If you are looking to buy the best, cheapest durians during the peak season, read on to find the answers to all your questions about buying durians in Singapore!
What are the popular durian varieties in Singapore, and how are they different?
Also referred to as Sultan durians, the D24 variety is one of the most famous among durian lovers. With small seeds and plenty of dark yellow flesh, this durian is well-loved for its value-for-money and harmonious balance of sweet and bitter flavours.
If you like strong flavours, XO is the one for you. It has an alcoholic aftertaste (hence its name!), which is cultivated through an extended period of fermentation inside the shell. The flesh also tends to be more watery and soft than the other durian types.
Mao Shan Wang (Musang King)
All durian lovers will surely agree that they love this durian variety – it is, after all, the most highly-coveted one in Singapore! The novelty about eating Mao Shan Wang durians is that you won’t know what kind of flavour to expect: the sticky, creamy flesh can taste either sweet, bitter, or even bittersweet!
Wang Zhong Wang
While Mao Shan Wang is arguably the most well-loved in Singapore, there is actually a type that is arguably even better – Wang Zhong Wang (translates literally to King of Kings). The smooth texture and fine balance of bitter flavours are definitely worth the higher price tag.
Mon Thong durians are grown in Thailand, and translates to ‘golden pillow’ in English. The flesh is bright yellow in colour (hence the apt name), and are well-known for their creamy texture. If you are trying durians for the first time, or are not keen on the stronger flavours of the other varieties, Mon Thong’s mild, sweet taste is just right for you.
This Malaysian durian has greyish-yellow flesh with a silky custard consistency. It has a strong and complex bitter taste that is preferred by old-time durian lovers – definitely not for the first-timers to attempt tackling!
Other popular durian varieties available include Ganja, Hong Xia (Red Prawn), Black Pearl, and Xiao Feng.
How much do durians in Singapore cost?
During durian season, prices of durian are much cheaper than what they would usually be, thanks to bumper crops from countries like Malaysia. Typically, you can get durians starting from SGD8/kg, and these can go up to about SGD20/kg for the more popular varieties.
According to news reports, these are the current price estimates per kg for durians in Singapore. The lowest prices are what you can get during the durian season, while the higher prices are what you typically pay for when the fruit is not in season.
- D24: SGD11 – 18
- XO: SGD12 – 18
- Mao Shan Wang (Musang King): SGD18 – 28
- Wang Zhong Wang: SGD15 – 22
- Mon Thong: SGD14
- Black Gold: SGD17 – 22
- Ganja: SGD8
- Hong Xia (Red Prawn): SGD8 – 13
- Black Pearl: SGD12 – 17
- Xiao Feng: SGD10 – 15
Are there any famous durian shops in Singapore I should buy from?
With so many durian sellers to choose from these days, it may be difficult to figure out which ones are worth spending your hard-earned cash at. These five durian stores, however, are highly-recommended by loyal customers for their high-quality durians and affordable prices.
Combat Durian has been around for more than 50 years, and its famed clientele even includes Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat.
Their durians sell out often in the early evenings, so if you are planning to go down and buy their most popular Mao Shan Wang durians, make sure to check their Facebook page before heading down. They will update with a post notifying customers when their daily stocks of durian are sold out.
Address: 249 Balestier Road, Singapore 329727
Contact: +65 9278 9928 | Facebook
Sindy Durian is a family business in Whampoa that has been serving hordes of loyal customers for more than 30 years.
Besides durians, you can also purchase ice-cream, puffs, and even swiss rolls that are made from high-quality Mao Shan Wang durians.
Address: Block 89 Whampoa Drive, #01-835, Singapore 320089
Contact: +65 9710 2427 / +65 9852 4548 / +65 9852 4890 | Facebook
Ninety-Nine Old Trees
Get your fix of creamy, fragrant durians in central Singapore at Ninety-Nine Old Trees. Located conveniently at Farrer Park, this store’s durians are said to be freshly picked from trees that grow on rich soil in Malaysia, and every seed is scrutinized to ensure that the fruits are ripe and fresh.
For those who are worried about the strong smell that comes with carrying durians home on public transport, you can even order your durians online and arrange for home delivery!
Wan Li Xiang
We all know Dempsey Hill has quite the reputation for restaurants and bars, but did you know that it is also home to a humble durian store?
Wan Li Xiang is located at a car park, and gives off kampong vibes that you normally would not associate with Dempsey Hill. Ah Di, the veteran stall owner of Wan Li Xiang, is very supportive of local durian farmers, with his stock of durians coming from Pulau Ubin.
New to eating durians, and have absolutely no idea about the different varieties? Simply let Ah Di know your preference for sweet or bitter flavours, and he’ll recommend a durian that is suited to your taste.
Address: Block 7 Dempsey Road (Carpark), Singapore 249671
Contact: +65 9756 2385
How do I choose the best durians?
Now that you have found your perfect durian store, how do you go about choosing the best durians? Sure, you could count on the store owner to recommend you, but for those who want to be absolutely sure that they are getting their money’s worth, here are some factors to take note of:
Smelling a durian can tell you about the ripeness of the fruit – you don’t want to get one that is unripe or overripe.
Take a sniff along the lines, where the durian pikes run parallel. If you are unable to detect a decently strong scent, it means that the durian is unripe. If the smell is overpowering, you can be sure that you have an overripe one.
When we shop for fruits and vegetables, we tend to look for those that have a more regular shape. Should you do the same for durians? Surprisingly, the answer is no!
Pick the durians that come in irregular, oblong shapes – the flesh tends to be more fragrant and creamier than those with rounder shapes. It is said that while rounder-shaped durians have more flesh-covered seeds, they actually contain less flesh. Interesting!
You would want to have the freshest possible durians, and an indicator of how long the durians have dropped is actually the colour of the stems. Durians that have dropped for a few days have stems that are darker in colour, whereas the freshly-dropped ones sport green stems.
If you see durians that are missing their stalks, give them a miss – the durian sellers may be trying to pass off poor-quality durians as good ones!
What are the durian seasons to take note of?
These days, you can actually have durian all-year-round, partly due to the fact that Singapore not only grows its own fruit, and also because we import from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.
However, durians are definitely a lot cheaper during the peak seasons, typically in the middle and end of the year.
Below is the availability of durians every month (updated April 2019, taken from Durian Delivery).
- January: Medium
- February: Medium
- March: High
- April: Medium
- May: Medium
- June: High
- July: High
- August: Very High
- September: Medium
- October: Low
- November: High
- December: Very High