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Mushrooms

Dried Black Mushrooms vs Fresh Shiitakes

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Dried Black Mushrooms vs Fresh Shiitakes

Ed Dibble | May 23, 2008 01:27 PM

Back in my youth, black mushrooms on a Chinese menu inevitably meant reconstituted dried mushrooms. I still remember the first fresh shiitakes I ever ate – in 1983 or 84, at a Japanese Oriental restaurant whose Korean owner/chef grew them himself.

Now fresh shiitakes are common in all sorts of Asian restaurants. Recently, however, I ordered a black mushroom and baby bok choy dish at a local Chinese restaurant and the baby veggies were partly covered with a mound of old-school dried black mushrooms. It was a lovely dish, full of umami.

A few weeks later, at the same restaurant with friends, I ordered the same dish. Only this time, the mushrooms were fresh shiitakes. It was still good, but I found myself missing the intensity of the dried ‘shrooms.

So what do you think? Is one better than the other? Do you prefer one? Should restaurants distinguish between the two?

ed

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