'Meet Mushroom' for a wild variety hotpot
Obscure and wild delicious mushroom varieties always sprout in Yunnan Province in mid June as the rainy season descends on southwestern China’s mountain forests — yet the season for indulging in these different varieties ends in late October.
Ironically, a friend from Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, took me to Meet Mushroom, a restaurant specializing in wild mushroom hotpot and Yunnan dishes. I couldn’t resist the last opportunity to indulge in the ultimate delicacy from the region.
The restaurant is just outside the city center, on Caobao Road. You don’t make the journey to the establishment for its chic deco or impeccable service — you go for its regional food and wild fungi varieties.
I started off with fresh matsutake. Boasting high nutrition, this rare and costly mushroom is a longtime Japanese favorite. It’s highly appreciated for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor. When eating it raw in slices it gives out a special mellow fragrance that is hard to describe in words.
The most popular way to eat wild mushrooms, according to the locals, is in a hotpot. And, at Meet Mushroom, all the wild varieties are kept fresh using cold chain and eaten on the same day it arrives from Yunnan.
There are several hotpot broths to choose from, including their signature Yunnan-style hotpot using the stock of wild chicken and a different type of fungus. The most precious hotpot is the 1988 yuan fungus king pot for a group to share. It includes a selection of the most precious wild mushrooms mixed with crab, oyster and abalone among others.
I chose the wild mushroom pot at 69 yuan for two to share and ordered two types of mushrooms — chanterelle and termite mushroom.
Each mushroom type requires a strict amount of time to cook in a pot. The deep earthy flavors of the mushroom broth was hard to resist as well.
It’s also recommended to try several wild vegetables from the region such as the Dali seaweed.
We finished dinner by sharing a big bowl of Yunnan rice noodles but the quality was less impressive compared to the other dishes.
Opening hours: 11am-10pm
Address: 1/F, 38 Caobao Rd
Average price: 300 yuan