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Saturday, March 6, 2010


A friend asked me to do a post about our Mushroom foray through the markets of Chinatown in Manhattan so here goes. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera so there aren't any foray photos, but the streets and the tiny stores were so crowded that I am not sure what kind of photos I could have taken. As it was, we got yelled at and insulted in Chinese for taking up space on the sidewalks packed with Saturday morning shoppers.

Joining the outing was the idea of my husband Don, the amateur mycologist, and was part of the badly-publicized Umami Festival. So we all met at 10:00 am last Saturday at the Macao Trading Company ( on 311 Church Street. The organizers divided the 30 of us into 3 groups and we took off to look at mushrooms. We stayed with the group led by Gary Linkoff, a veritable font of wisdom on the topic of mushrooms.

After we examined and "gathered" (i.e. bought) mushrooms for about 1.5 hours, we all met back at Macao for a show and tell and lunch.People had found fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms, mushroom powder, and mushroom candy. Lunch was a choice of hot and sour soup or chicken and corn soup and a variety of dumplings prepared by the Macao staff. Here are the mushrooms that Don and I came home with --we skipped the medicinal reshi mushrooms and the ones that started at $700/pound.

This rather phallic-looking mushroom might lead you to say "what happened to this poor daikon radish?" It is actually a mushroom known as King Oyster or King Trumpet. Unlike many mushrooms, you use the stalk--heck, there's nothing but stalk. I used this as part of dinner that night by slicing it, drizzling oil over the slices, and baking it for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. The slices that were thin were tasty, the slices that were thicker were okay but more chewy.

Most of the mushrooms that we saw were actually dried, so here are the first dried ones that we bought. These are shitake mushrooms and the Chinese consider the mushrooms with the most white between the brown sections to be the best. I rehydrated these tonight and made an Italian mushroom sauce (garlic, mushrooms, wine, cream, and Parmesan cheese pureed in a blender) for pasta. We plan to buy these again.

These are dried hedgehog mushrooms.

A closeup of the package.

No one was positive what these mushroom are but the guess is honey mushroom.

A closeup of the mushrooms.

So I have more mushrooms to try.

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