While some people may not be able to appreciate their pungent aroma and singular flavor, many Indonesians are crazy in love with “the king of fruits” a.k.a. durian and are willing to pay high prices to get the highest quality specimens when they are in season.
But a new royal durian has become the talk of the internet in Indonesia, and this queen demands a price that only the richest and most devoted of durian aficionados could afford.
Dubbed the J-Queen, these durian are priced at a jaw-dropping IDR14 million (US$ 1000) and are only available at the Plaza Asia shopping center in the West Java city of Tasikmalaya.
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Since their unveiling on Saturday, the J-Queen have become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, with people lining up just to get a selfie with the famous fruit.
Although the J-Queen is actually grown in Central Java’s Kendal regency, the breed’s creator is a 32-year-old specialist grower from Tasikmalaya named Aka. He told Tribun that he had set out to create the highest quality durian possible. He said that there was only a single J-Queen tree at the moment and that its fruit can only be harvested once every three years.
Aka said that the J-Queen’s fruit had a uniquely nutty and buttery flavor that was well-balanced between bitter and sweet. It also has a unique shape in that the fruit and seeds are all round instead of oblong. Also the edible flesh around the seeds made up a far greater percentage of the fruit’s total volume.
The luxury durian developer also said that he had not yet sold the J-Queen’s seeds to any other growers so he was the only person in the world who could produce them, although he had sent a few of the fruits to other durian growers in Thailand and Malaysia so they could sample his product.
The J-Queen is also reputed to have won numerous durian contests in Indonesia as well as one in Penang where it defeated the famed Mussang King variety from Malaysia.
As princely a sum as you’d have to pay for a J-Queen, they are not the most expensive durians ever sold commercially. In 2017, a Kan Yao durian was sold at the “Nonthaburi: The King of Durian” expo in Thailand for a record 800,000 baht (US$2,540), although that was part of an auction in which the proceeds went to charity.
The J-Queen’s IDR14 million price tag is, obviously, still a staggering amount. But a Plaza Asia representative manager said that two of the four fruits they had in stock have already been sold, while the final two have been wrapped up in Chinese New Year packaging while awaiting the wealthy durian aficionados who are destined to devour them.