Every July and August, fresh matsutake mushrooms are sold in markets in high numbers. On July 29, reporters saw many fresh matsutakes placed on booths at vegetable markets around Lhasa for the public and tourists. Venders were also busy packing incubators with matsutakes and ice packs, to be sent out by express delivery. In addition to fresh matsutake mushrooms, dried matsutakes are also popular.
Sales of fresh matsutake are flourishing
Matsutakes are known as the “king of mushrooms”. In China, they are produced in Yunnan, the Northeast, and Nyingchi, Tibet. In Nyingchi, they are distributed across Bomi County, Gonpo Jamdo County, and Mainling County. Due to their excellent quality, they are widely popular in China and abroad.
“Sir, how much are these matsutakes?” “120 to 200 yuan per half kg. The bigger ones are a little more expensive, smaller ones are cheaper.” In a wholesale market for matsutake mushrooms, local resident Mr. Zhang and his wife are buying fresh mushrooms. The proprietress arranges the mushrooms as she sells them. “Matsutakes from Nyingchi are tender and delicious. They have a strong flavor and good, smooth meat. Many people here buy them to make soup Of course, there are also a lot of tourists who order Nyingchi matsutakes to be delivered, so they can share them with family and friends.”
Dried matsutakes are also popular
Because matsutake mushrooms will spoil up to three days after picking, the price of fresh mushrooms on the market is relatively expensive, which discourages many people from buying them. In this sense, the more easily preserved dried matsutakes are the best choice for most people, especially tourists.
“How much are the dried mushrooms?” In a Tibetan specialty shop on Beijing Central Street, the manager takes out two packs of half kg dried matsutake mushrooms and hands them to Ms. Li, a tourist. “The pack of young matsutakes is 600 yuan. Another pack that has open veil is 400 yuan,” the manager says. In a local specialty store in Lhasa, there are a variety of products including Tibetan matsutake mushrooms. The price of a 250 g pack of dried mushrooms ranges from 480 to780 yuan
Nyingchi matsutakes smell strong, look bluish white and do not open like an umbrella
“From July 20 this year, Nyingchi matsutakes were finally brought to market. The few hundred kilos picked by farmers every day are mainly bought by local restaurants and businesses. It is hard to find genuine Nyingchi matsutake mushrooms in the market of Lhasa.” Official He, the executive vice president of the Nyingchi Matsutake Association, revealed that “Nyingchi matsutake mushrooms will be available in Lhasa in large quantities from early August. This year, the Nyingchi matsutake crop is less due to climate and other factors. When the weather is good, 4 kg of fresh mushrooms can be made into a half kilo of dried mushrooms. In case of high humidity, it takes 5 kg of fresh mushrooms for a half kilo of dried.” According to market research, the price of Nyingchi matsutakes is estimated to be 1,200 to 1,500 yuan per half kilo. Those mushrooms sold in markets at a dozen yuan to a few hundred yuan per half kilo are artificial mushrooms.
So, how can one identify a Nyingchi matsutake? Official He said: smell the mushroom; the smell of a Nyingchi matsutake is particularly strong. Look at the color: the skin of the mushrooms is brown and the flesh is bluish white, whereas ordinary mushrooms are snow white. Distinguish the shape; the umbrella of ordinary mushrooms are very large, while Nyingchi matsutakes do not open like an umbrella. The shape is not so uniform, and the surface is scaly.
According to reports, the 8th Tibet Nyingchi Matsutake Food Culture Festival will be held from August 8 to September 24. At that time, diners can enjoy a feast of matsutake mushrooms.