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September 2021
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干巴菌 (Gan Ba Jun) Thelephora Vialis

By Xiao

干巴菌 (Gan Ba Jun) Thelephora Vialis is one of the most sought after wild mushrooms in Yunnan. It usually grows in pine forest. Pine needles are often found in the cluster of the Gan Ba Jun. It is very time consuming to clean as the mushroom grows around dirt, rock, twigs. It has to be torn into small pieces carefully in order to remove the unwanted substances. A small peeling knife is often used to get rid of soil.

Well, the high price and painstaking cleaning process is worth it as Gan Ba Jun has one of the most intense and complex flavor one could taste. The favorite cooking method among locals is to stir fry it with some fresh green chili peppers and garlic. The bite from green chili pepper can bring out more of Gan Ba Jun’s flavor. Garlic not only provides a bit sweet taste to the dish, but also is a paring ingredient for almost all the wild mushrooms in the region for its “poison removing quality” to make people feel safer. :)

If one is in the vicinity when the dish is being cooked, the aroma certainly will get one’s attention and raise one’s expectation. When the dish is served, the best way is to taste it one small bit (not bite) at a time. This way, one is not overwhelmed by the intensity of the flavor. Chew it slowly and breath out through one’s nose to experience different layers of it flavor.

With its relatively low moisture content and intense flavor, Gan Ba Jun can be cooked with many strong flavored ingredients and in many ways and still stand out. Its flavor preserves well too. It is like good tea, tea with first batch of hot water does not necessarily taste the fullest. There are some pickles produced with Gan Ba Jun in the region. It certainly shows the range of this rare wild mushroom

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