The Rise of Musang King
The pungent, creamy and bittersweet Musang King durian has become a sensation in China, captivating local tastebuds and dominating the imported durian market. As Musang King’s popularity soars in China, it is helping promote Malaysia’s culture, cuisine and tourism beyond its borders.
The Allure of Musang King
Musang King, known as Mao Shan Wang in China, is a premium cultivar of durian grown in Raub, Pahang. Its unique taste and texture has earned accolades as the “king of durians”. Demand has skyrocketed in recent years as durian imports to China increased from $2.1 million in 2017 to $510 million in 2021.
The Musang King varietal accounts for over 60% of Malaysia’s durian exports to China. Prices can reach over $100 per kilogram, making it one of the most expensive fruits in the world.
What makes Musang King so addictive? The flesh is bright golden yellow, custardy smooth and melts in the mouth. The bittersweet flavor is well-balanced. The durian gives off an intense aroma reminiscent of roasted almonds and caramel. Aficionados describe it as rich, complex and creamy.
Promoting Malaysia Through Food
To showcase Malaysian cuisine and culture, the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (MayCham) organized a 3-day Rasa Malaysia food festival in Beijing. Attracting over 30 Malaysian food vendors, traditional performances and durian stalls, the event allowed locals to experience Malaysia’s sights, sounds and tastes.
The highlight was Musang King durian flown in directly from Raub. Crowds lined up eagerly to try the famous fruit. “Musang King is getting more and more popular in China. Many have expressed interest and can’t wait to try it,” said MayCham chairman Loh Wee Keng.
The festival aimed to attract 50,000 visitors. Tickets sold out rapidly, underscoring the growing appetite for Malaysian fare. Beyond introducing new flavors, these cultural events strengthen ties between both countries.
Musang King has elevated Malaysia’s reputation as a premier durian producer. The fruit’s popularity has shone a spotlight on Malaysian cuisine and boosted agritourism. Durian farms receive droves of Chinese tourists eager to see the Musang King trees.
Malaysia exported $1.9 billion worth of durians in 2021, with China as the top importer. Building on this demand, Malaysia aims to be the number one durian exporter by 2030.
The humble Musang King has transcended its roots as a local delicacy to become a national treasure and cultural ambassador for Malaysia. Its rising stardom in China is helping share a taste of Malaysia with the world.