The Malaysian King (of fruit)

The durian is either a cocoon of sweet, buttery goodness or a pungent, sour fruit to be avoided — depending on who you ask.

Most Malaysians, however, would agree on the former. Durian is a fruit so beloved by Malaysians that it has its own festivals, held in conjunction with the country’s Merdeka Day.

At these festivals, attendees can sample a wide variety of durians — think something similar to a wine or cheese tasting event. Not all durian flesh looks or tastes the same: the flesh of the popular Musang King, for example, is creamy with a bittersweet flavour. The Black Thorn, on the other hand, is deep yellow and tastes like custard. The D24 is for the bravest durian lovers, with its distinct bitter taste.

Those who can’t handle the pungency of durian can try other durian-flavoured foods. IKEA Malaysia’s festival, for example, serves Musang King frappes, durian cream puffs and tarts, and durian cakes.

For durian lovers, just eating the fruit is a social activity. Many durian festivals hold durian eating competitions. At another festival, a durian judging competition drew hundreds of Malaysians, who were given the winning durians to taste afterwards and spent 4 hours eating them.

So why is durian so popular?

For the people in China — whom Malaysia has already shipped 20 tonnes of Musang King to — the fruit is thought to be able to keep them warm during winter. In Malaysia, however, it’s because of the warmth it brings to Malaysians’ hearts.

According to one durian festival organiser, durian eating is particularly adored by older Malaysians because it reminds them of their childhood, growing durian trees and eating the fruit with their family and friends. But no matter your age, durian season is a big thing in Malaysia and it’s not hard to understand why.

Malaysians are spoilt for choice, and not only when it comes to durians. At Eastspring, we also believe in spoiling our customers when it comes to investment choices. Learn more at