Fungi of the World: China
Edible fungi span many different species and geographies around the world. This is the first in a series of taking you around the world to see the beautiful diversity of flavors and beauty of fungi.
Here are five of our favorite Chinese fungi, many of these have been consumed for thousands of years and are considered functional foods. You can find many of
Mushrooms are the best! There are so many all around the world.
- Taste: umami goodness with a great balance of savory and smoky flavor
- Texture: soft and spongy when raw and meaty and tender when cooked
- Unique Feature: rich in glutamates and makes for great umami add to dishes or soups
- Taste: Neutral tasting fungi that absorb the flavors of the surrounding ingredients.
- Texture: It’s slightly crunchy but also soft and honey-comb like. There’s nothing else like it.
- Unique Feature: Has antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds and of course it’s texture is unique.
Wood Ear Mushroom
Wood Ear Mushroom
- Taste: Very earthy tasting but when cooked it will easily absorb other flavors from other ingredients.
- Texture: Depending on the freshness of the mushroom it can go from a firm and crunchy to slightly jelly-like in consistency.
- Unique Feature: Related to their name, they are ear-shaped and grow on wooden logs.
- Taste: extremely bitter and often used in traditional herbal medicine.
- Texture: due to its bitter nature, reishi is often ground into a powder or steeped to make tea
- Unique Feature: said to have cancer-fighting properties and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Taste: sweet-savory umami flavors like seafood and very rich tasting, slightly bitter notes
- Texture: stringy and tender texture that resembles meat
- Unique Feature: reduces inflammation and can increase cognitive function and alertness
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