Already a domestic mushroom powerhouse, Yunnan is sending more of its mushroom output overseas - particularly to Western Europe. In the first seven months of this year the province exported 1,791 tons of mushrooms, an increase of 15.2 percent over the same period last year.
The total value of Yunnan's mushroom exports from January through July exceeded US$10.8 million, up 3.8 percent year-on-year, according to a Xinhua report citing Yunnan customs officials. The officials said that sales of niugan jun (牛肝菌) to Italy, France and Germany were particularly strong.
It is currently mushroom season in Yunnan, and in addition to niugan jun, Kunming markets and restaurants are stocked with other popular mushrooms from around the province including the hearty songrong (松茸) aka matsutake or pine mushroom [pictured above], the fragrant jizong (鸡枞) and the meaty ganba jun (干巴菌).
When ordering mushrooms at a restaurant, make sure to confirm the price beforehand as these seasonal mushrooms can cost up to several times as much as other dishes. If you choose to buy mushrooms to cook yourself, it is recommended to have an experienced friend oversee the cleaning and cooking as some mushrooms contain small to significant levels of toxic substances.
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