Monkey Head Mushroom

Ingredient Name: Monkey head mushroom, Hericium erinaceus, Lion’s mane mushroom, pom pom mushroom, bearded head mushroom

Chinese Name: 猴頭菇 (hóu tóu gū)

A very unique looking mushroom that is commonly used in Asia in soups.  I haven’t seen this product before (especially fresh) in North America, but there is the potential that it exists dried.  There are variants of this mushroom available in North America, I myself just hasn’t eaten it.  Obviously, I am not a big mushroom fan, haha, but this texture and taste is quite interesting.

What is this?
  • A type of mushroom in the fungus group that grows spines out of the tree (rather than a branch like most mushrooms)
  • Often beige in color when it is fresh (or raw) and when dried, it turns into a yellow-ish brown color
  • It’s texture is similar to that of a sponge
  • The monkey head mushroom is used to replace meat in vegetarian dishes (such as pork or beef)
  • It is considered a medicinal mushroom in Chinese Medicine
  • A rubbery and bouncy texture when boiled in soups and tasteless

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in warm water before usage
  • Cut into slices or cubes (for eating) when cooked in soups

Where can I buy this?

  • Monkey head mushrooms can be purchased fresh or dried in Asian supermarkets and wet marts
  • It is a seasonal purchase and not always available

What is the cost?

  • A pack of 2 fresh monkey head mushrooms cost around $20 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Monkey head mushrooms are said to regulate blood lipid and and may reduce blood glucose levels

Any precautions?

  • It is considered a Chinese medicine and should be consumed in moderation as there is limited research on the ingredient

Any substitutes?

  • Other mushrooms such as the king trumpet mushroom (or king oyster  mushroom) with similar texture and taste

Picture of dried monkey head mushroom