THREE durian varieties — the Black Thorn, Green Skin and Musang King — remain the all-time favourite this season.
The ‘branded’ durians from Balik Pulau are in demand by foreigners and locals alike, as seen at orchards as well as road side stalls.
A visit to several orchards showed that most locals preferred the Green Skin (Cheh Phoy) durian while foreigners tend to opt for the Musang King.
The Black Thorn, which is low in supply this season, is in high demand despite it being sold between RM50 and RM100 per kilo.
Durian Rumah Batu Balik Pulau owner Tan Hock Hoe, 41, said the Green Skin durian was the cheapest among the three as it was priced at RM30 onwards per kilo.
“There is a high yield of Musang King as orchards started growing it four to five years ago.
“Currently, it is selling at about RM40 to RM70 per kilo in the market. I can forsee that the Musang King might go out of trend soon.
“However, the Black Thorn is quite limited in supply for now and is in high demand. People enjoy the bittersweet taste of the fruit,” said the third-generation orchard owner yesterday.
Lim Brothers Orchard spokesperson Tham Siew Kean, 58, agreed that more people were seeking the Black Thorn durian this season.
However, she said her customers from China and Hong Kong would still come seeking the Musang King, adding that Chinese tourists make up for the majority of their customers.
She added that durians in Balik Pulau may not necessarily be the cheapest in the region but people know of its good quality.
Both operators predicted that the durian season is expected to end by the first week of August.
A visit to Durian Rumah Batu Balik Pulau in Sungai Pinang showed that tourists were enjoying the King of Fruits as early as 10.30am with nutmeg juice.
Canadian tourists Anthony Chan, 56, and Annie Man, 55, said they decided to drop by Penang to eat durians as part of their two-week holiday in several countries.
Chan said durians in Canada, which are usually sold frozen, would easily cost RM150 each.
“We really enjoy the experience of being able to have the durian where it was grown.
“I also keep track of the names of the durians that we ate,” said the dentist.
Some 20 Pantai Hospital Penang staff members were also spotted having a durian buffet as part of the company’s initiative to treat its department heads.
Senior dietician Verora Lee, 30, said it was her first time having durians at an orchard as she usually bought them at stalls in town.
“You’re able to chit-chat with friends while enjoying the durians at the orchard,” she said.