How to Choose A Good Durian
Choosing a good durian is summed up in three steps - See, Smell, Feel. See the stem for its "green-ness", that's an indicator of quality. Then, smell. Put your nose to the sides of the durian and breathe in. It should smell pleasant, not overly strong, or it could be overripe. Last, feel. Knock the fruit, you should feel its seeds moving slightly. When all three boxes are ticked, buy it!
Generally, no matter the variety, good ones are not a perfect sphere but oval or elongated. But if you see an oddly-shaped one, this could mean the chambers, or pockets of seeds, are few, so you’re getting less flesh.
But something that resembles a soccer-ball is not ideal too, it generally reflects a fruit of lower quality and quantity.
Beside the main body, look at the stem too. Generally, the older the durian (not on the tree but on the shelf), the browner the stem, one that’s fresh will have a green stem. It’s almost like leaving your vegetables out and seeing them turn dull.
It should have a slight whiff of durian but not strong - that’s a sign of being too ripe. If you can’t smell a thing, that means the fruit has not yet ripened. Pick another.
You’ll want to put your nose to the sides of the durian, not at the top or especially the base. That’s because the base of the durian is the thickest part of the shell, so you’ll have a hard time getting an accurate picture.
Knock, knock, who’s there? Good durians should have a slight knocking sound when you shake it, it means the flesh is nicely separated from its chambers, and not sticking to it. Kind of like when you flake fish meat off the bones and it falls away nicely.
If you hear nothing, it means the flesh is firmer, but that could be the way you like it. Too much noise though, could mean your durian is over-ripe.
Across all varieties, generally young durian trees produce sweeter fruit and older, or more mature ones yield more bitter fruit. Prices can vary significantly from day to day, but those grown in Pahang usually cost more than the ones in Johor, because of the better climate and higher altitude.