Wild fungi: Delicacy out of mountains

For Yunnan province, wild mushrooms are a grace from Mother Nature. From the fifth to tenth months on the Chinese lunar calendar, the fungi that are born and grow up in the mountains hit the market one after another, allowing foodies to enjoy the distinct flavor of wild fungi.

Yunnan is home to around 250 varieties of wild mushrooms, which account for two thirds of edible mushroom species in China. The wild fungi can be fried, stewed, grilled, braised and steamed, and each cooking method will bring a distinct delight to your taste bud.

Among wild fungi favored by Yunnan folks, the boletus makes a must on their menu. For example, the stir-fried sliced boletus is one of the favorite dishes in Yunnan. Here are the cooking steps: First, wash the mushrooms with a toothbrush and dry them up. Next, cut them into thick slices and add some garlic. Then, stir-fry the boletus slices with green chilies or dried peppers. When the ingredients are thoroughly cooked, a tasty dish will be ready.

If you want to taste the freshness of wild fungi, the traditional cooking method is to braise or boil. For example, the tasty collybia can be braised with farm-fed chicken, and it is ready to be served when the dish features yellow soup, soft chicken and thick aroma. This delicacy is full of fragrance, nutrition and aftertaste.

Another cooking style of more rustic charm can be applied to russula virescens. First, set buds of the fungus upside down on the grill. While heating the young fungi with mild fire, you can sprinkle salt on them at times. Then, the liquid in the stalk will slowly flow into the mushroom cap. In tasting the russula virescens bud, diners pick it up, blow the dust with care, drink the juice in the cap, and finally chew up the whole fungus bud.

For sure, people in Yunnan also associate wild fungi with hot pot. Sometimes the mushrooms from the mountains or vegetable markets are cooked in a pot with fried bacon or chicken soup, giving birth to a wild-mushroom hot pot. This dish also gives full play to the tastiness of wild mushrooms, with the nutritious essence remaining in the soup.