Wednesday, June 15, 2011
A giant mushroom big enough to feed 40 people has been found growing in an old brick kiln in southern Vietnam.
Truong Anh Dao found the humongous fungus, standing 50cm tall and weighing more than 3.5kg (7.7lb), near her home in Thuan An town, in Binh Duong Province.
“At first, I thought it was a conical hat poking out from the bush,” she said. "I thought a woman had left it there. Then as I went closer, I realised it was a huge mushroom.”
Scientists believe the fungus – called nam da lon (pig skin mushroom) in Vietnam - is a Macrocybe crassa.
Fungi expert Dr Gregory Mueller said: “It’s a good edible species in SE Asia, but it does not get this big in the reports of it that I have read. This is a great find - mushrooms of this size are only rarely seen.”
Truong said it took her several minutes to wrench the mushroom from its soil. She carried it home and neighbours flocked round to see it. She has planted the whopper in a pot while she decides what to do with it.
Grant Hawthorne, from the Master Chefs of Great Britain association, said: “You could comfortably serve up a healthy breakfast for 40 or more guests with a monster mushroom that size.
“A giant mushroom ‘gratin’ would make for an interesting visual spectacle - especially if used as a centre piece for a sharing banquet.”
'FUNGI FACTS' by @granthawthorne:
Most expensive: The white truffle from Alba (Lennie: pic above is a 750g whopper that sold for an obscene £130,000). It is one of life's luxuries and best eaten in the gorgeous surroundings of Italy's Piedmont wine-growing region.
Most popular: Must be the 'breakfast mushroom'. A simple button, field or chestnut mushroom grilled with butter and seasoning, to accompany that great fry-up we all crave on Sunday mornings.
Poshest: Probably the one used in the making of the famous Beef Wellington. Getting the duxelle right is the tricky part, although you can seldom identify the cultivar, as the mushroom has been finely chopped and rendered down. Sitting on a beef fillet and wrapped in puff pastry, it is wonderful (when done properly).