Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (2022)

You can find them in marts around Korea year-round, but fall always gets us thinking of mushrooms.There are dozens and dozens of varieties consumedas meals and medicine in Korea, but today we’ll stick with a rundown of the four most common mushrooms you’ll find in restaurants and markets: pyogo mushrooms, neutari mushrooms, saesongi mushrooms and paengi mushrooms.

(In the photo above, we’ve included a common varietal of neutari—by the numbers, we have: 1. pyogo, 2. neutari, 3. cham-neutari, 4. saesongi, 5. paengi)

Rather listen than read? Getour Local Eats podcast about mushrooms on tbs eFM’s Koreascape here.

Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (1)

Pyogo (표고 버섯, shiitake mushrooms)

Pyogo are the second most commonly produced mushroom in the world. Cultivation is said to have begun in China around 1000 A.D. and while it naturally occurs in the wild here in Korea as well, pyogo have been farmed here since at least the Joseon Dynasty era: A 1766 treatise on agriculture (증보산림경제) describes a method for farming pyogo using cut logs, soaking and seeding them, and placing them at an angle to propagate. In fact, farmers who do “자연,” or natural, pyogo farming use pretty much the same methods today. Oak logs, preferred for the best taste and highest yield, are set up beneath pine trees, which provide year-round shade. Mushrooms can be harvested in fall and spring. Indoor commercial production of pyogo using bags of sawdust produces higher yields but a distinctly different flavor profile.

Chef’s Notes

Pyogo is often called “밭에서 나는 쇠고기,” meaning “beef of thefield” since its texture is reminiscent of beef, and, at the same time, it is said to be just as nutritious as beef. Therefore, it has been often used as a companion for bulgogi and japchae in Korean cuisine.

how to eat:

There are many ways to eat pyogo in Korea, but here are the two main ways:

– fresh pyogo: you can sauté, or add toyour bulgogi, japchae or any kind of stir fry. You can use therecipe that followsand addit toany of the recommended usages mentioned above.

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– dried pyogo: Soak them and use them likefresh mushrooms. Wondering howto soak them? There’s a surprising amount of controversy about this, but in my opinion, the best way is soaking them in cold water in the refrigerator overnight. Many sources will recommend that yousoak them in hot water, or even sugar water, using the microwave—but be forewarnedthat while soaking your dried pyogo in those wayswill get them soft pretty quickly, you will not get the earthy, deep, true aroma and flavor of pyogo. You can also make a great vegetable stock by simply adding few pieces of this mushroom to your pot.

– Western cooking applications: sautée as a side dish with meat, use in stocks for soups and stews.

Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (2)

how to choose:

Check under the cap of the mushroom—if the gills are slightly opened like a file folder, it is ready to be consumed. If you can’t see the gills and the underside of the cap is closed, it means it is still too young to be picked. On the other hand,if the cap is stretched out flat and you can see the gills are fully opened, it means the mushroom is too old. While not all natural, log-grown mushrooms are marked on the packaging, the farmer we talked to showed us how natural-grown pyogo havethicker stems and caps than sawdust grown mushroom.


pyogo mushroom bokkeum

how to store:

Pyogo mushrooms tend to absorb a lot ofmoisture, so keep them in a dry, cool place. If you plan to consume them within a few days, wrap them with paper towels keep them in the refrigerator. If you are planning to use them over the long term, you can also freeze them. Another way to keep them is drying: When you dry pyogo, place the caps upside down, so the gills can face upward. Dry them in cool, sunny, dry weather.

Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (3)

Neutari (느타리 버섯, oyster mushrooms)

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If pyogo is Korea’s best-known mushroom, neutari is the quiet champion of shopping baskets and home cooking. There are no neutari festivals, there are fewer photos and books and blogs on neutari, but it’s everywhere and to ignore it would be a disservice. Neutari have grown on fallen poplars and willows in Korean forests since ancient times and today, 80% of neutari production occurs in East Asian countries. There are several varieties of neutari in Korea, but the most common is just plain neutari (Pleurotus ostreatus, meaning ear-shaped oyster in Greek). Another popular variety, cham-neutari (참느타리, Pleurotus spodoleucus) has darker dove-gray caps, stands up taller, like trombones, and has a slightly less earthy fragrance than neutari.

Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (4)

Chef’s Notes

how to eat:

Neutari has a milder tastethan pyogo and comes at very affordable prices in Korea. It’s great sautéed with other vegetables. Neutaricontain a lot of water, so often it is first blanched then sautéed in Korean cuisine.

Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (5)

how to choose:

Choose mushrooms with shiny grey caps and clearly visiblegills. Ideally, thecap shouldn’t be smashed.


Neutari mushroom sautee

how to store:

Because of the moisture content of this mushroom, it becomes very stringy and tasteless if you freeze and thaw—so don’t freeze them and keep them in refrigerator wrapped in paper towels. Neutarichanges colors and starts losing its aroma and flavor very rapidly, so if you need to keep them for more than two days, blanch and then store in the refrigerator.

Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (6)

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Saesongi (새송이 버섯, king oyster mushrooms)

This plump, hardy mushroom has undergone enough re-namings and family reclassifications to rival a Korean drama. Originally considered part of the songi (pine mushroom) family, it was reclassified to the neutari family in 1986 (in keeping with its scientific name, Pleurotus eryngii) and christened “big neutari” (큰느타리). Before long, the South Gyeongsang Rural Development Administration decided that it was worthy of its own name and dubbed it the “jinmi mushroom” (진미버섯). Finally, everyone settled on saesongi (new songi) and that’s what has stuck. While saesongi do occur in the wild, they’re rare and the majority are grown in bottles on sawdust and rice bran.

Chef’s Notes

I was born in1977, and I don’t have any oldmemories of saesongi mushrooms… I might be wrong, but as far as I can remember, theystarted showing up in the marketregularlymaybeeven less than 10 years ago. When I think about saesongi mushrooms, no particular flavors come to mind, but instead, I recall theirunique and meaty texture. I personallyenjoy sautéeing them and serving with grilled meat but there are also many other ways to enjoy them.

how to eat:

One of the most common ways to eat saesongi in Korea is thinly slicing and grilling them. Most Koreans do thiswhen they have BBQ.Or saesongican be simply sautéed with some salt and pepper and a littlevegetable oil. Cutting them in half or into thick cubesand sautéeing can give you more chewy and fun textures. Also, it is often made as jangajji (ganjang-based pickle).

how to choose:

Choose firmand heavy saesongi mushrooms. Avoid saesongi with dry flesh or broken caps, if possible.


Saesongi mushroom jangajji (coming soon)

how to store:

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Wrap them in apaper towel and keep in the refrigerator. They can be stored longer than other mushrooms but try to consume them as soon as possible. Saesongican be frozen.

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Paengi (팽이 버섯, enoki mushrooms)

Paengi are possibly the strangest looking of the mushrooms you’ll find in the mart. Skinny and pale, there’s something almost underdeveloped-looking about them. “Paengi” means “top” in Korean, referring to the small spinning toy—to be fair, the anemic stalks sold in grocery stores don’t exactly resemble wooden tops, but the wild varietal does. In the wild, paengi are shorter and stouter, with light golden-brown caps. The paengi you see in stores are cultivated indoors with little light. Paengi cultivation hasn’t had a long history in Korea, at least commercially, only starting in the 1980s. Between 1995 and 2009, paengi production in Korea has increased 15 times over, helping it become one of the most popular mushrooms today.

Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen (8)

Chef’s Notes

Paengi is one of the most popular mushrooms in Korea not only because of its generously lowprice but alsobecause of its interesting texture and mild, buttery flavor. People enjoy adding paengiinto avariety of dishes.

how to eat:

Since it has a very gentle and mild flavor, paengican be added into almost any kind of dish. It can be eatenraw or cooked. Korean people enjoy them adding into bulgogi or doenjang jjigae. For Western cooking, it can simply be added into salads.Or try rolling with bacon and baking in the oven fora simple but delicious party appetizer.

how to choose:

Choose a tightly wrapped package that hasn’t been exposed very long to air. The colorshould be a bright white, and the stems should be straight. If the bottom of the bunch of mushroom has changed to yellow, it means it is going bad.

how to store:

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Paengi goes bad easily, so consume as soon as possible. If you have to keep paengi longer, wrap them with a papertowel and put them in a plastic bag, but do not close it. The mushroom need to breathe.Beware: this mushroom loses freshness quickly!

*Please note: This is not a guide for wild mushroom foraging. The same species grown for grocery stores and the wild version can look very different. There are a lot of poisonous look-alikes out there so follow an expert if you head out into the woods!

**We’re really grateful to mushroom farmer Jang Sunjae for setting up a mushroom foraging trip and visit to a pyogo mushroom farm. He also sells fresh, log-grown pyogo and neutari, which you can order here.


Korea's most common mushrooms · bburi kitchen? ›

Korea's most common mushrooms
  • Pyogo (표고 버섯, shiitake mushrooms)
  • Neutari (느타리 버섯, oyster mushrooms)
  • Saesongi (새송이 버섯, king oyster mushrooms)
  • Paengi (팽이 버섯, enoki mushrooms)
Oct 16, 2015

What mushrooms are used in Korean cooking? ›

What are those Korean mushrooms called? ›

Enoki mushrooms, their Korean name is “Paeng-ee beosut”. I think they are the cheapest mushrooms in Korea. You can get 3 packs of these mushrooms for 1000 won (US $1.05) at the supermarket.

What kind of mushrooms do restaurants use? ›

Trends point toward continued dominance of Portobellos, the most widely used mushroom in all types of restaurants, across all geographic regions of the U.S., at all times of day, and in appetizers, main courses, and side dishes according to Datassential.

What is the most common mushroom found in grocery stores? ›

Button mushrooms are by far the most common type of mushroom that you're almost guaranteed to find in grocery stores. What is this? They're sliced up and used as a topping on pizzas, in spaghetti sauces, and most other dishes that use mushrooms.

Are enoki mushrooms healthy? ›

Enoki mushrooms are highly nutritious, packing a good amount of fiber, antioxidants, and B vitamins into each serving. They've also been associated with numerous health benefits and may help support heart health, brain function, immunity, and more.

How much do enoki mushrooms cost? ›

Enoki, a long, thin white mushroom used in many Asian cuisines, I count on as my cheap mushroom stalwart—generally between 89 cents to $2 a package, sometimes even two for 89 cents! But on my last few trips to the store, enoki mushrooms have ranged between $4.99 and $5.99 a package.

What is the most popular mushroom? ›

1. White Button Mushroom. Characteristics: The most common and mildest-tasting mushroom around. Ninety percent of the mushrooms we eat are this variety.

What's the most common mushroom? ›

White button. The most common and most mild mushroom is the white button mushrooms. Button mushrooms are soft in texture and can be eaten both raw and cooked. Use them in soups, salads, pizza, pasta and lasagna (to name a few).

What does Enoki taste like? ›

What Do Enoki Mushrooms Taste Like? Enoki mushrooms have a pleasantly chewy texture, with a mild, fruity flavor that is slightly earthy. Enokis stand out from other types of mushrooms for their texture: The long, thin strands are reminiscent of noodles.

Whats the most expensive mushroom? ›

The rare European white truffle is the world's most expensive mushroom, with a price tag that can exceed 2,200 euros per pound.

What's the best mushroom to eat? ›

What are the healthiest edible and medicinal mushrooms?
  • Shiitake Mushrooms.
  • White Button/Cremini/Portobello Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus family)
  • Oyster Mushrooms.
  • Lion's Mane Mushrooms.
  • Porcini Mushrooms.
  • Chanterelle Mushrooms.
  • Enoki Mushrooms.
  • Reishi Mushrooms.

Which mushroom is poisonous? ›

Amanita Peptides

The extremely poisonous mushrooms of the genus Amanita (Amanita phalloides, A. virosa, A.

How can you tell a mushroom is poisonous? ›

How can you tell if a mushroom is poisonous? - YouTube

Is enoki mushroom poisonous? ›

One of these potential contaminants is Listeria monocytogenes, which is known to cause listeriosis, a serious – and possibly fatal – bacterial infection when handled and consumed improperly. This can be especially dangerous for the elderly and immunocompromised individuals.

Should I wash enoki mushrooms? ›

They can be eaten raw or cooked but should be cleaned prior to usage. To clean your Enoki mushrooms, pick out any stems that are slimy and discolored, then run the cluster under cold water.

Is enoki mushroom safe to eat raw? ›

They have a firm, somewhat crisp texture and delicate flavour, making them a very versatile ingredient. You can eat enoki mushrooms raw but they're also perfect in soups, stir-fries, risottos and more.

Can you grow your own enoki mushrooms? ›

Growing enoki mushrooms in cultivation is done in the dark, resulting in white, slender fungi. If you like eating enoki mushrooms, you might try growing them yourself. If you want to learn how to grow enoki mushrooms, there are plenty of kits and inoculum available.

What are expensive mushrooms called? ›

Matsutake mushrooms, the highly-prized autumnal delicacy revered by fine-diners in Japan, are the world's most expensive mushrooms. Their disappearing habitat in Japan means the price continues climb.

Where do enoki mushrooms grow? ›

Wild Enoki mushrooms grow in clusters on trees, preferring the Chinese hackberry tree, persimmon, ash, and mulberry trees. The cultivated variety is grown in the dark in a carbon-dioxide-rich environment to encourage the stems to grow long, thin, and white.

What part of enoki mushroom do you eat? ›

Enoki is a long skinny mushroom you find in bundles attached to a root. It is common in Japanese cooking and can be enjoyed on its own as a side dish, over rice, in soups or ramen, fried, or in sushi. Enoki has a very mild flavor and is quite noodle-like.

Does enoki mushroom expire? ›

Enoki mushrooms are versatile and have a shelf life of up to one week if they are stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator.

Why is my enoki mushroom bitter? ›

However, it's really important that you clean them first and pick out any slimy or discolored stems, which can be bitter and distasteful. Run the cluster of mushrooms under cold water and cut off the woody stem at the end. You can then enjoy them raw, add them to dishes whole, or cut them up and add them to a stir fry.

Why is shiitake so expensive? ›

Shiitake demand is far greater than Shiitake supply, so the prices tend to be much higher than the prices of mushrooms like buttons (aka crimini, portabello, etc). The supply isn't likely to increase greatly, either. Although they aren't hard to grow, buttons are even easier to grow. Shiitakes require wood for growth.

What is the price of Gucci mushroom? ›

One of the most sought-after edible mushrooms, guchhi is known for its spongy, honeycombed head and savoury flavour but all of that comes at a high price. It is known to be one of the most expensive mushrooms, with only 500 gm gucchi costing up to Rs 18,000, according to organickashmir.com.

What mushrooms are used in Chinese cooking? ›

black mushroom and forest mushroom (not to be confused with European dried mushrooms) are the most widely used mushrooms in Chinese cooking and are grown chiefly in China and Japan. Their fleshy caps are dense, and their stems are tough yet can be used for flavoring before being discarded.

What are big white mushrooms called? ›

Calvatia gigantea, commonly known as the giant puffball, is a puffball mushroom commonly found in meadows, fields, and deciduous forests usually in late summer and autumn.

Can we eat mushroom everyday? ›

One study found that adding half a cup of mushrooms to your daily diet can actually increase your overall intake of zinc, potassium, fiber, and vitamin D. According to Natalie Rizzo, a registered dietician, there is no downside to eating mushrooms every day, especially if you're an athlete.

What is the world's deadliest fungus? ›

The world's most poisonous mushroom, Amanita phalloides, is growing in BC. ABSTRACT: Amatoxins in Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap mushroom, are responsible for 90% of the world's mushroom-related fatalities.

Can touching a mushroom hurt you? ›

As deadly as some toxins may be, touching the mushroom is harmless. The harmful toxins in mushrooms must be consumed in order to harm you. Collecting mushrooms for consumption is unsafe and even experts have died from picking the wrong mushrooms.

What happens if you touch a white mushroom? ›

It causes severe gastrointestinal irritation, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, liver failure has been reported. It can also cause red blood cells to break down, leading to jaundice, kidney failure, and signs of anemia. It is found in mushrooms of the genus Gyromitra.

What does death cap mushroom look like? ›

What do death cap mushrooms look like? The death cap is often pale and yellowish in colour with a large cap and skirting underneath it. It often has a faint, honey-sweet smell. Death cap mushrooms can be confused some with edible mushrooms, such as puffballs and paddy-straw mushrooms.

How long does mushroom poisoning last? ›

Onset of symptoms usually occurs within an hour of ingestion, and effects typically last up to four to six hours.

What mushrooms are used in Korean BBQ? ›

King oyster mushrooms, shiitake, or regular oyster mushrooms would also work well in this dish. To make this spicy, stir fry with a sliced jalapeno or top the finished dish with chili sauce. Asian mushrooms are much cheaper when sourced from an Asian market. However button mushrooms will work for this dish too.

What part of king oyster mushrooms do you eat? ›

The king trumpet, eryngii or king oyster mushroom is the largest of the oyster mushroom genus and, unlike other oyster mushrooms, their stalks aren't tough and woody to eat. Instead, they're hailed for their meaty texture and umami flavour.

What are golden mushrooms good for? ›

Golden Enoki mushrooms contain copper, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and zinc. They are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and are excellent immune system boosters.

What is mashita in Korean? ›

It Is Delicious

The word 'delicious' is made up of the word 맛 (mat), meaning 'taste', and the verb 있다 (itda), which means “to exist.” These are combined to make the word 맛있다 (masitda) which literally means “taste exists”, but actually means “delicious.”


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