It appears that durian sellers in Singapore are welcoming crowds bigger than ever this year with larger harvests and cheaper prices to offer to fans of the king of prickly (and pungent) fruits.
Whether it’s the sweet, creamy, golden yellow Mao Shan Wang that you’re after, or the orange and bittersweet Red Prawn, buying a kilogram of durian this pandemic seems like a steal, with prices mostly ranging in the single digits – not bad considering the poorer weather and COVID-19 restrictions that have said to hamper the durian business.
“Now of course it’s cheaper compared to last year because this year [we] got more harvest,” Wong Yew Loon, 57, who owns 227 Katong Durian told Coconuts today. “You must also know that Malaysia is in lockdown, so [it is] very hard for them [to] sell it in Malaysia, so there will be more stock coming into Singapore.”
Other sellers offering durians at rock bottom prices include one in Bishan, which drew long lines that prompted police to arrive and manage the crowds. The Wang Sheng Li 95 stall was promoting Mao Shan Wang durians at only S$5 per kilogram instead of the usual price of around S$20. Sheng Siong supermarket was also selling a variety like Mao Shan Wang and Red Prawn from S$2 each.
The durian season began in June, just after Malaysia entered a third nationwide lockdown that restricted many businesses from operating, including those who normally sell the famed fruit on the streets. Many Malaysian durian farmers were also hit by wet weather that ended up damaging and withering their crops, although that did not seem to affect most of the supplies coming into Singapore, which mostly depended on its neighboring country for durians – especially the Mao Shan Wang, the bittersweet D24, Red Prawn, and pale-yellow Golden Phoenix breeds that are popular here.
Wong, who specialized in the bitter Hu Lu Wang durians noticeably shaped like a water gourd plant, received 10 crates of the fruit – weighing a total of 500kg – from Malaysia’s Johor and Pahang states throughout the day.
Durian 36 at Geylang Road is also “totally not affected,” said owner Alvin Teo, 34, but noted that prices were definitely cheaper than before. Teo mainly sourced his durians from Johor and receive about 800kg of them at 3pm every day. Fans of the Red Prawn can get their durian fix there at S$5 each.
Durian seller Kelvin Tan, 37, said that while the bad weather did affect harvests in Johor, he was lucky to still have his own plantation in Pahang to back him up.
“There are some damages but it wasn’t as bad as Johor. In Johor, the rain was quite bad so they have a lot of durian flowers that bloomed and got washed away by the rain,” owner of 99 Old Trees at Owen Road said. He ships in about 700kg of durians a day that includes the Mao Shan Wang, the D24, and the rare Tekka varieties.
Tan predicts that prices will be even cheaper in the coming weeks, especially in early July as plantations in Johor welcome their next harvest.
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