Saturday, September 24, 2005


Matsutake Update

I was inspired by all the talk about matsutake mushrooms, and so decided to try to hunt for them here in NYC at the Farmer's Market in Union Square.

I spoke to one of my favorite mushroom sellers who had a beautiful supply of woodhen mushrooms (maitake in Japanese) for sale ($29 per pound), which, like matsutake cannot be cultivated.

He told me that he usually does have matsutake, and that he has one Japanese client who comes every year to buy the mushrooms from him, and take them back to Japan! Apparently this client likes to brag to Japanese friends how cheap the matsutake are in America.

Unfortunately, says the mushroom seller, the Northeast has been experiencing a drought, and the matsutake haven't been showing their little heads. The mushroom man was very nice about sharing how to find matsutake -- but wasn't about to divulge his secret picking location.

In the meantime, if you live in New York, you can wait until Hangawi has their annual matsutake feast posted on the menu again. I had the feast one year, and the chefs certainly do pull out all the stops to present matstutake in as many ways as they possibly can. Plus, the atmoshpere is wonderfully authentic in part because of all the wooden floors, and the remove-your-shoes-and-sit-on-the-floor style dining room.

Hi Marie
This is Mari from Tokyo.
Wow Matsutake is cheap in NY? Just a few piece of matutake is 5000yen or so in Japan. China or Korean Matsutake are cheaper than domestic one, but they don't have good smell enough.
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