Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mister Mushroom Farm

Last week, I got a chance to pay a visit Mister Mushroom farm, one of the major attractions at Wang Nam Khieo in Nakhon Ratchasima province.  Located in the Northeastern part of Thailand, the town of Wang Nam Khieo is well known its natural beauty, agriculture and 7th best ozone in the world.  We arrived the mushroom farm early in the day.   It only took us about 10 minutes to walk through the entire farm, but over an hour spent in total as we were greeted with mushroom products being sold at the front and back of the farm. Even before heading in for the tour, people were already sampling and buying mushroom and snacks before remembering to check out how the fungi are grown.



Different types of dried mushrooms
Mushroom chili pastes

MMM... Mushroom crackers to go with the chili pastes.  I'm normally used to eating shrimp crackers but these taste almost the same without the seafood hint.  We picked up 3 bags for 100 bath ($4.50).

This mushroom is called "monkey head" mushroom in Thai.  I found it quite amusing as they are round and furry, really reminding me of small baby monkeys. They are also furry in texture, which got me really curious of what they would taste like and how they should be cooked.

Plump oyster mushrooms perfect for stir fry's


    
        Materials for growing mushroom spores
Food sources for mushroom spores
Mushroom spores grown in rice medium

Mushroom sporing
Cultivation area:
This area was very humid.  There were built in automatic sprinklers that go off every so often.   The mushrooms were growing at different rates.  Some of the mushrooms being harvested here are monkey head, Shiitake, Reishi, champignon, pink, blue and golden oyster mushrooms.  





 

 


I was surprised to see that so many Reishi mushrooms are being harvested here.  Considering how expensive they are, this place is a GOLD MINE!




Shiitake mushrooms being grown

A whole row of beehive boxes with a stern warning sign, "beware of angree bees".  The tour guide explained to us that the bees were actually imported from Italy and the breed is quite tame.  The sign is to deter people from opening the beehive and disturbing the bees.  Hmmm... I guess it works!

Shiitake mushroom flavoured fish sauce being fermented in large jars.  





A ginormous abandoned bee hive sitting on top of us



 
Chinese style fish maw soup, minus fish maw soup had been replaced with mushrooms!  It was delicious.  I was really excited about this food venture and I think the fungi themed food truck idea would really fly in Vancouver!  I hopped around line up to line up, trying to get anything I can put my hands on.  There was a huge line up gather around the deep frying station, "keep them coming! don't stop frying!" begged the customers with their bills raised up in the air.  When our tour guide told us about mushroom french fries, there was no way I was going to leave this place without trying them.  Because of the long line up, each order was made fresh.  I got my batch, along with other battered and fried mushroom goodness.  

 



The mushroom fries were interesting, but I still prefer potato fries over them.  I believe they were made from oyster mushrooms.  They were not as crispy and still have that rubbery, chewy mushroom texture that wouldn't compare to the original fries.  The battered mushrooms were good, would be better if they were stuffed.  They came with a sweet chili dipping sauce which made them that much more enjoyable.  The grilled shiitake mushrooms were amazing.  It was simple, earthy, smokey with a chewy texture.  It was served with a side of chili vinegar, which just totally made my mouth water as I'm writing about it.

Next up was shiitake mushroom drink.  For some reason, I thought it would taste salty lol.  It was nicely chilled, with a subtle, sweet taste, sorta like a sweetened tea.  It was pleasantly refreshing.

 
The final thing I was getting for my (pre) lunch was the mushroom ice cream.  It came in 2 flavours, chocolate and milk, I chose the latter.  I was scared that it would taste like frozen cream of mushroom soup.  But contrary, once I tasted it, the ice cream was yummy and the mushroom bits were frozen which gave it an extra texture to chew on.  It was a nice sweet and creamy taste that reminded me of butterscotch, or something similar to rum raisin.  

We all left Mister Mushroom farm with a full belly and bags filled with goodies.  Fresh mushrooms, good price, educational and informative tour, and yummy snacks. A great spot to visit when you're in Nakhon!


3 comments:

  1. I hate to admit this but I never thought about where the mushrooms I buy actually come from. It's a great glimpse into the process. I'm envious of you that you have these great opportunities to travel and check out new places. Just wanted to inform you of a Culinary Smackdown Battle I am hosting and would love for you to participate if you are interested. Check it out at: http://imapretendchef.blogspot.com/2011/01/culinary-smackdown-battle-hand-held.html

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  2. Pretend Chef, aww that sounds exciting and thank you for the invite! I'm totally up for the battle and I know exactly what I'm gonna send in!

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  3. nice post..
    thank's for the information ^_^
    please visit me too :
    check it out

    ReplyDelete