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
- Monkey head mushrooms are said to regulate blood lipid and and may reduce blood glucose levels
- It is considered a Chinese medicine and should be consumed in moderation as there is limited research on the ingredient
- Other mushrooms such as the king trumpet mushroom (or king oyster mushroom) with similar texture and taste
Picture of dried monkey head mushroom