Durian drinks taste test: Durian coffee and tea, plus pandan, avocado, and red bean oddities

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

You know durians are in season when you walk along any random street in Chinatown or Geylang, minding your business, when suddenly there’s an assault. On your olfactory organs.

That sudden stink in the air means The King of Fruits is back on the scene, bringing with it an onslaught of durian-centric food and drink.

We saw so many of these popping up that we decided to taste test a selection of the weird durian drinks we could find. Y’know, the kind of unusual combinations that make you go, “but why?”

And so, driven by the potential glee of bombarding our durian-hating colleagues with that familiar stench, we rounded up five bizarre durian concoctions from across the island.

Durian coffee, durian tea, durian pandan, durian avocado, and durian red bean ice — bought everywhere from old school dessert shops to hip new drink stalls. Even our Coconuts chihuahuas couldn’t resist going in for a curious sniff.

“Umm, yeah, maybe not.” Photo: Coconuts Media

After we successfully made our entire workplace reek of durian, we buckled down and got to ranking the five drinks from best to worst. Take a look below and live vicariously through our mixture of joy and suffering.

D24 Durian Pandan, $5 at Fruce

D24 Durian Pandan. Photo: Coconuts Media

By far the favorite of the lot, this clever blend of an unlikely pair went down smooth and easy, with the fragrant pandan slightly overwhelming the pungent durian. Perhaps that’s why it got the most votes — the taste of durian wasn’t strong enough to offend, and it simply reminded us of durian chendol, with little chewy chunks of durian flesh in each sip.

We’d definitely go back for more to satiate mild durian cravings, but our next order will probably request a reduced sugar level to keep the sweetness to a minimum.

#B1-45 Wisma Atria. Daily 11am-10pm. 

D24 Durian Avocado, $5.50 at Fruce

D24 Durian Avocado. Photo: Coconuts Media

Coming in a close second, the mix of durian and avocado unexpectedly meshed well together. Taste-wise, it was lighter than the pandan drink; but texture-wise, definitely richer. Nearly straw-jamming, even. Not surprising, given the creamy nature of the two fruits. Just think of it as a thicker-than-usual durian shake.

So it’s a thumbs up for durian avocado, which one of our Coconuts crew likened to drinking pure durian (with added durian chunks). However, it’s so indulgent than you may or may not feel like you’re way in over your head by the time you’re halfway done with the drink.

#B1-45 Wisma Atria. Daily 11am-10pm. 

D24 Premium Durian Jasmine Tea, $6.80 at Hi Tea

D24 Premium Durian Jasmine Tea. Photo: Coconuts Media

Homegrown fruit tea brand Hi Tea recently jumped on board the durian bandwagon with its D24 and jasmine tea concoction, which claims to be the world’s first of its kind. It’s basically a mix of durian purée and cold brew that’s topped with a layer of durian cream for floral and creamy notes, so you’re supposed to drink the cream straight from the cup first, then sip the rest of it through a straw. But, the drink got mixed reactions from our group.

Sure, it was fragrant and sweeter than regular durian flesh, and yeah, the jasmine tea flavor lingered without being overtaken by durian. The beverage didn’t disgust non-durian lovers, but someone commented it had a hint of chemical sweetener and tasted more like thick, sugary tea sans the fruit.

In conclusion: Thanks, we appreciate the seasonal offering, but we’ll stick with the store’s fruit teas instead.

#01-27 South Wing, Northpoint City. Daily 11am-10pm.

Durian Hong Kong Red Bean Ice, $5.50 at Ah Chew Desserts

The melted Durian Hong Kong Red Bean Ice. Photo: Coconuts Media

We’re not entirely sure what happened here. It seems our cup arrived sans durian entirely, and by the time we discovered the blunder, our colleague was already back in the office with the order. Guess we’ll never know whether the staffers at the stall forgot to add in the fruit, or if the drink is just milk and red bean with a scoop of durian so subtle, it’s practically non-existent.

How’d it not get placed last in the list, or disqualified altogether? Funny you should ask. Read on to find the answers you seek…

Two outlets, including #01-10/11 Liang Seah Place, 1 Liang Seah St. Mon-Thurs 12:30pm-midnight, Fri 12:30pm-1am, Sat 1:30pm-1am, Sun 1:30pm-midnight.

Mao Shan Wang Durian Coffee, $5.50 at Mao Shan Wang Cafe

Mao Shan Wang Durian Coffee. Photo: Coconuts Media

As much as we wanted to love this strange-sounding combination, it was every bit as awful as we expected. Not quite coffee, not quite durian — just an unholy intersection of the two that nature never intended us to artificially engineer. And yet, here we are.

The drink left a bitter aftertaste and was reminiscent of durian syrup or essence, instead of the actual fruit. One person described it as plopping a chunk of fake durian ice cream into coffee and leaving it there to wither, while someone else commented that it tasted like how their toilet would smell if gunk built up after a month of no cleaning.

Maybe we should’ve gotten the hot version, but it wouldn’t have mattered — everyone was in total agreement on how these two sacred, independently beautiful things should never again come into contact with one another.

49 Temple St. Mon-Fri 1pm-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm.


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