Black Fungus: A Vegetable That Works As Meat

Black fungus is a very common and inexpensive ingredient on Chinese dinner table. It also has been labeled as a medicinal food for thousands of years known for its rich nutrients such as iron, protein, fat, vitamins, polysaccharide, and other minerals.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners, black fungus has a bittersweet taste and is “neutral in nature” that can replenish “Qi” (essential energy), enrich and activate blood, purify lungs and intestines, etc. Its applications include anemia, haematemesis, uterine bleeding, hemorrhoid, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and even cancer prevention.

Black Fungus: A Vegetable that Works As MeatBeing honored as “Meat in Vegetables,” iron contained in black fungus indeed is one the highest among all the vegetables; eating regularly can enrich blood and prevent iron deficiency anemia. Besides, even the modern Western medical science has proven that black fungus is very effective in blood viscosity modulation by inhibiting platelet aggregation and lowering viscosity of blood. Studies show that people who eat black fungus regularly tend to have a normal blood viscosity—a similar result as to use aspirin—not to mention these people are at lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Since black fungus carries a compound called polysaccharide, this vegetable not only inhibits tumor growth and prevents cancer, it also neutralizes the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Last but not the least, black fungus also is a good “adsorbent” and “scavenger” thanks to its pectin that can adsorb dust in lungs and digestive system and then excrete together.

Indeed, whether you are a vegetarian or a meat-lover, eating black fungus has a mile-long list of benefits, yet requires only an inch-long list of cooking steps. Want to have black fungus on your dinner table tonight? Try this one: Stir-fry Black Fungus with Chinese Cabbage (Bok Choy).

Image by woowoowoo

17 Responses to “Black Fungus: A Vegetable That Works As Meat”

  1. 1 LYnn Leonard

    Thanks for this valuable information. I shall go in search of Black Fungus today, and if the store doesn’t have it,
    I’ll try to order it from the Internet.
    All the best from the Intermountain West in Idaho.
    Lynn Leonard, Pocatello, ID

  2. 2 Linda

    I do wonder where you would find it and what it tastes like. I love Bok Choy, so gotta try this!

  3. 3 oxanacanada

    Look in your local Chinese super market; they sell a lot of healthy things. During my last shopping there I’ve noticed similar bag as displayed on this page, and started looking for info about black fungus. Looks like very healthy food. Just need to find more recipes.

  4. 4 Jim

    As oxanacanada noted this is available at any Chinese grocery store or supermarket with a Chinese specialty section.

    I have just started using this and have found it has made a world of difference to the way I feel after 2 weeks.

    There are many ways to use this fungus. You have to soak it in warm water for 20 mins to use it. You don’t need too much…it swells up quite a bit. By itself it has little or no taste so I would not use it in a salad particularly unless it was marinated. By itself it has the taste and texture of the cartilage you might gnaw on a chicken bone.

    I often use it in an omelet. Soften the fungus, then cut into thin strips…cutting out the stem area. Then mix it in with your filling and fold it into the omelet like normal.

    When cooking a chili or spaghetti sauce, you don’t have to really soak in warm water first. I wash the pieces (I break the brittle dry strips into about 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces first) in water to knock off any surface dust then just pitch them into the sauce and they soften as they cook , absorbing the taste of the sauce.

    I would do the same with a stew.

    When softened they can be used in stir fries as well….try it …you will like it…but remember when it softens it swells up so a little dried fungus goes a long way.

  5. 5 Phill

    I buy black fungus already cut into strips(like in the picture) and I use it in stir fry with Kelp. Kelp can also be bought pre-cut into thin strips so I just add a little of ecah to a pan of cold water and let in soak for at least half hour. Drain it and stir fry with garlic, chilli, ginger and a dash of fish sauce. Great with any fish includind squid.

  6. 6 Mike B righ ton UK

    Try it, its brilliant. As long as the slightly rubbery texture does not put you off, although saying that, its soft rubbery and longer cooking softens it more.

    Easily available in Chinese/Asian stores or via the web.

    Full of good stuff & fibre.

    Only downside is consume as you would any other vegetable.
    Its benefits are such that if you overconsume it can cause mild intestinal bleeding, but you would have to eat a whole bag of it every day to have such ill effects.

    According to a personal friend, who has Hep C, she says it helps her Liver function a lot.

    Happy eating folks!

  7. 7 Sosha

    Amazing bit of information! Thank you!
    Any idea if it is available in India?

  8. 8 AngryReptileKeeper

    I suffer from Celiac disease. Just a day ago, I accidentally ingested some wheat, and had very bad effects. Since then, I have been craving this mushroom. Given its intestinal cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties, it comes as no surprise!

  9. 9 blackinkservice

    Thank you for your compliments!

    I bet you may find black fungus in China Town or Chinese communities.


  10. 10 Phyllis

    Love it. I used it in a veg. and tofu lo mein, the rubberyness was not even noticeable. I will use it again in different dishes too. yes a little goes a long way, it is amazing to see how much they grow.

  11. 11 Josh

    Oh, they do really expand! Used it tonight in a slow-cooker soup and it took up my whole pot. I barely had room for my turnips and eggplant.

  12. 12 margie

    I bought those mushroom in stripes, and I love to put them in my noodle soup, with some kombu and kelp, also nice in a miso soup, ( i usualy boil them in the broth for a few min before adding the other ingredients. Yummy, love the texture.
    I have been craving those in the last week, (i am pregnant) and now just found out how nutritious they are, and a good source of iron.
    Black fungi makes mommy happy!

  13. 13 Brian

    I just did a search to find more information on Black Fungus and found this page. I just used it tonight, a hybrid ramen noodle soup.

    1) Toss away the spice package. Way too much sodium and other nastiness.
    2) chicken broth/stock 2cups set to boil
    3)Black Fungus, a couple tablespoons full should be enough.
    4) Bitter leaf. Not much it is very bitter, a couple leafs should be enough.
    5)green onions thin sliced
    After boiling awhile add the package of ramen noodles, stir occasionally until done.

    I had also added some dry Galanga, but it didn’t soften so best to avoid it or powder it or maybe rehydrate overnight.


    I am looking forward to seeing more uses. Thanks everybody!

  14. 14 israel nneji

    where can this fungus be found in Nigeria. thanks

  15. 15 Michelle

    I remembered some co-workers of mine had me try a different kind of fungus, it was like a sponge and in the really light soy flavor sauce was so good. They told me fungus has all kinds of great health benefits. So when I tried a new dumpling restaurant today I saw they had Garlic Black Fungus which is served cold with bits of light flavored garlic in a soy sauce with some cucumbers. Really delicious. Good to see the benefits of this vegetable I happen to have graves disease and this will help my metabolism.

  16. 16 healthysense

    I’m from Taiwan (now I’m living in the US), and grew up eating black fungus. For me, a delicious way of cooking black fungus dish is to stir fry it with chily sauce, brown sugar, and thin stripped pork – a greart combination with fresh made steaming rice. I think you are able to find this dish in the Chinese restaurant as well.

    One thing I’d like to point out:

    Try to find the FRESH black fungus in your oriental/Chinese supermarket, and avoid the dry ones as the picture shows. The reason is that it makes sense the fresh ones should preserve the most nutrients. Besides, for the Chinese community in the USA, we all know that China has lots of “food issues”. I would be concerned to buy any food products that was processed and imported from China. You never know what they added during the food processing. FDA is so short of hands. No one is watching the food safty for you. I’m very selective if I have no choice but to buy the food products imported from China.

    So, if you live in the place where has a large Chinese community, it should not be difficult for you to find the fresh black fungus in the supermarket.

  17. 17 sundevilpeg

    I cook a lot of Hunanese food, and use it extensively in any recipe calling for dried shiitake mushrooms – easier prep, far less waste, and the very mild flavor is a good foil for the strong, assertive flavors of this cuisine. Great in Ma Po Tofu in particular – the slight crunchiness adds textural interest.

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