Food in China

Let’s Eat…… Fungus

China has nearly 900 species of wild mushroom,  more than 50 of which are in commercial cultivation. Mushrooms are used widely in both cooking and in traditional medicine. They are sold fresh and dried.

Black Fungus or Cloud Ear Fungus (黑木耳 hui mu er)

Looks like an ear, it’s thin and a rubbery feel when cooked. It grows on trees and is also farmed, it’s always seen sold in it’s dry form. It has a neutral flavor so it merges well with other seasoning and vegetables and adds texture to a dish. According to Baidu Encyclopedia, Black fungus is extremely rich in nutrients, contains a lot of carbohydrates, protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, carotene, vitamins and other nutrients.

To Cook it: you can soak the black fungus in cold water for 4 hours or overnight, or soak for 15-20 minutes then cook in boiling water
Uses: salads, soups, stir frys
Goes with: scrambled eggs, chicken soup, cold salad with fine cut vegetables

A simple cold salad recipe
Ingredients: black fungus, green peppers, carrots
Seasonings: garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar
1. clean with running water, or wash with salty water or flour and water
2. cut the green peppers and carrots into fine strands, tear the black fungus into small pieces.
3. boil a pot of water, first cook the fungus (a couple of minutes), then boil green peppers and carrots, and then quickly put them into cold water so as maintain color and crispness.
4. put black fungus, green peppers and carrots put a bowl, add garlic, pepper, salt, vinegar, stir together.

You could also add sesame oil, soy, some ginger and celery.

Snow Fungus (银耳 Yin er)

Likes to grow on rotten wood in summer and autumn. It has a long history in Chinese Medicine and also in beauty care to help improve skin tone. According to Baidu Enc. it contains 17 kinds of amino acids, essential amino acids (around 3/4 of the bodys requirements). Fungus also contains a variety of minerals, such as calcium , phosphorus, iron, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur.

To Cook it: it can be steamed, boiled, soaked or stewed until soft and edible.
Uses: deserts and soups
Goes with: sugar, dates, dried lily bulbs, lotus seeds and even game meat

A popular recipe is as desert dish:
Dry white fungus 30 grams
Jujube dates 10
Longan 50 grams
Rock sugar 70 grams
Water 1000 cc

Soak the dry fungus, cut off the hard stem and break into pieces. Add everything into a pot and simmer for about 2 hours.

Cordyceps Sinensis (冬虫夏草 Dōngchóngxiàcǎo in Chinese and yatsa gunbu in Tibetan)

This bizarre character comes from the mountains of Tibet. In summer, the insects lay their eggs on the ground, about a month after hatching become larvae and bore into the soft wet soil. A soil fungus attacks the larvae, although it continues growing it is slowly eroded by the fungus. The fungus continues to grow and the larvae becomes a caterpillar shell overtaken by the fungus to form a “caterpillar fungus.” It’s a highly regarded medicinal product and fetches really high prices, especially in Hong Kong, but many tell me that there are varying grades, only one has the real medicinal quality and it’s extremely hard to tell them apart. They are also ‘farmed’ in other places of China.

Used mostly in soups, some recipes marinate it in alcohol for some months and then used as a tonic.

A popular recipe
10-20 grams Cordyceps sinensis
10-20 grams ginseng slices
1 black chicken, quartered and skinned
Salt and pepper

Heat a large pot of water (about 70 percent filled) on high. Add the Cordyceps and ginseng, reduce the flame to medium, and boil for 15 minutes. Next, add the chicken, reduce the heat to low and simmer for two hours. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper, and serve piping hot.

Some popular Mushrooms (蘑菇 Mógu) commonly seen in supermarkets and restaurants in China

Enokitake,  golden needle mushroom or lily mushroom (金针菇 – Jīnzhēngū)


A popular recipe for Enokitake – Mushroom bacon roll 金针菇培根卷


Mushroom 200 grams, bacon 1 pack, black pepper sauce, seafood sauce, oyster sauce, sugar

1. mushroom blanched in hot water wash, remove the stand! After all the bacon for two stand.
2. take a bowl, add seafood sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper sauce, sugar, water, mix well and set aside.
3. place mushroom onto the bacon, then roll up and fix with a toothpick.
4. put a little oil in the pan and bring to heat, place in bacon rolls, begin frying and add sauce as you go until everything is golden and cooked to your desire

Coprinus (鸡腿菇 Jītuǐ gu)


Recipe – Coprinus Pork 鸡腿菇炒肉

Coprinus , pork , oil, salt, soy sauce , chicken (cut into small strips) , cooking wine .

1 Cut the mushroom, dry stir in the pan until golden brown. Put aside.
2 Add the sliced pork to pan and stir fry.
3 After the meat starts to get some color, add Coprinus, stir fry, add soy sauce, cooking wine, chicken, salt and seasoning all to desired taste, and toss until cooked through.

Oyster mushrooms (秀珍菇 Xiùzhēn gu, another common type is 平菇 Píng gu)


Recipe – Shredded Oyster Mushrooms 秀珍菇炒肉丝

mushrooms 200G, pork 200G, carrots 50G, two spring onions, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, oil

1. shred or slice the meat, add egg white, salt, cooking wine, water, corn starch and mix well; peel and slice carrots add together with oyster mushrooms into boiling water and boil until hot and just cooked, drain.
2. in a wok, saute ginger in oil, add pork, stir fry, add the oyster mushrooms and carrots, continue to stir fry; according to personal taste add soy sauce, add onion and mix together, serve.

Shiitake (香菇 Xiānggū)


Recipe – Shiitake Mushroom Tofu Stew 香菇焖豆腐

Tofu 300 grams, of lean pork 50 grams, mushrooms 8, red pepper 2, onions, ginger, garlic, salt, soy sauce, pepper, sugar, vegetable oil

1. cut tofu into rectangular pieces and fry until golden brown on both sides.
2. cut mushrooms into four pieces; cut red pepper into pieces.
3. cut onions, ginger and garlic into thin slices.
4. add oil to pan, get it hoat and add pork and fry.
5. add ginger and garlic flavor Stir, add the tofu slices, stir fry.
6. add the red pepper, mushrooms pieces, add salt, sugar, pepper, soy sauce.
7. add a small bowl of water (preferably broth), under low heat simmer until sauce is thick


Straw Mushroom (草菇 Cao Gu)


Recipe Straw mushroom beef with oyster sauce 蚝油草菇牛肉

Straw mushroom, beef 150g, 2 onions, oyster sauce, chicken powder, flour, Salt to taste

1. cut beef into slices, tenderizer the meat (beat it, brine it, use meat tenderiser powder or your preferred method) then put in a bowl with some oil
2. clean mushrooms and cut in half, cut onions;
3. fry the beef
4. in some oil saute the mushrooms until cooked through;
5. add the beef, onions, oyster sauce, chicken powder and stir fry until done (a minute or two)


Mongolia Mushroom (蒙古口蘑 Ménggǔ kǒumó)


Recipe – Mushroom and Pork Liver soup 口蘑猪肝排骨汤

Mushroom 300 grams, small anount of lean meat, small amount of pork liver, salt and ginger to taste

1. Slice meat and liver, place in bowl with salt and oil.
2. sliced ​​mushroom.
3. Boil water, add the meat and cook, then add ginger, mushroom, then salt to taste and cook for five minutes

Agrocybe (茶树菇 Cháshù gū)


Recipe Salted egg yolk Chaxingu 咸蛋黄茶树菇

Mushrooms, salted egg yolk, egg, salt, sugar, corn starch

1. place washed mushrooms in boiling water with salt and cook for 3-5 minutes, remove and drain, set aside. Put eggs in a bowl and whisk with a little corn starch
2. Deep fry the mushrooms in hot oil until golden, leave a little oil in the wok and then add egg mixture and sugar and salt, stir fry and you have fried Cháshù gū

Note about the recipe instructions: for more detail search using the Chinese names at sites like or