Specialty termite mushrooms in Binh Phuoc rubber forest

Termite mushrooms grow in clusters along the rubber plots, which people pick and process into delicious dishes such as mushroom chicken soup, braised mushrooms with pepper.

After a few rains in early summer, the hot weather is the time for fungi to grow. It is not clear when, residents living by growing rubber in Hon Quan district, Binh Phuoc province have the habit of going to the forest to find termite mushrooms when the rainy season comes. This is also considered a valuable specialty because the mushroom cannot be grown but only grows naturally in the season.

Dong Hao (real name Tran Van Hien), born in 1997, native of Binh Phuoc, owner of the YouTube channel Dong Hao Cuisine, has just posted a video about the process of picking termite mushrooms and processing specialties into delicious dishes in a meal. daily. The video impresses viewers through a close story about childhood memories with friends picking mushrooms, the delicious taste of the dish during a simple meal under the vast rubber forest in the Southeast region. After 2 days of posting, the video has more than 15,000 views and hundreds of positive interactions, sharing feelings about this specialty.

Termite fungus grows in rubber forest in Hon Quan district, Binh Phuoc province.  Photo: Dong Hao Cuisine/YouTube
Termite fungus grows in rubber forest in Hon Quan district, Binh Phuoc province. Photo: Dong Hao Cuisine/YouTube

“Termite mushrooms are white, the base is slightly yellow. Ever since I was a child, I have loved the sweet taste of termite mushrooms. Every year, every year, when it’s termite mushroom season, I will go to pick mushrooms early in the morning, which takes a few hours. go look for them in rubber lots, when the basket is full, they will go home,” Dong Hao shared.

The soil in the rubber forest is covered with rotten leaves, termites only grow about 4 to 5 cm above the ground, mushroom pickers must observe carefully and use small trees to dig through the leaves to find mushrooms. At the beginning of the rainy season, the soil is soft, so people can use their bare hands to dig around the base of the mushroom to pull out the deep roots below. Mushrooms must be picked carefully and not bruised as this can reduce the freshness of the dish.

Termites mushrooms only grow in clean areas, if the soil has been cultivated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the fungus will not grow. Because according to local people, termite fungus is a plant that grows from the waste of termites, this type has the same shape as regular wood-eating termites but nests underground, in high mounds. Termite mushroom nests are spongy tissues the size of a nia. A mushroom mound has several dozen such nests. Usually there are 3 to 5 mushroom growths each year.

Dong Hao picks mushrooms and processes them into delicious dishes in his daily meal. Video: Dong Hao Cuisine/YouTube

Termites mushrooms have high nutritional value and are rare, so the preliminary processing is not picky, keeping the status quo as much as possible. Mushrooms are picked to scrape off the soil clinging to the roots, then washed and dried, processed into attractive dishes such as: cooking porridge, sautéing melons, making cotton balls, stocking pepper, cooking soup, baking with salt and chili… rustic, but the taste of termite mushrooms is no less than premium foods.

As for Dong Hao, he uses the termite mushrooms he has collected to cook chicken soup. Chickens choose the type of garden with firm, fragrant and non-friable meat, clean and then cut into bite-sized pieces. He chopped the red onion, put it in a pot of boiling oil, turned it yellow, and then added the fried chicken and boiled water. The termite mushrooms are added when the chicken is cooked, do not cook the mushrooms for a long time because they are easily corrupted and lose their taste.

Termites mushrooms inherently have a fresh and sweet taste, so when cooked, do not taste picky to keep the taste, add a little salt, monosodium glutamate, pureed pepper, chopped scallions is round. The meal also has more termite mushrooms with pepper and salt and pepper, wrapped in embers of foil.

Simple, delicious dish from termite mushrooms in the rubber forest.  Photo: Dong Hao Cuisine/YouTube
Simple, delicious dish from termite mushrooms in the rubber forest. Photo: Dong Hao Cuisine/YouTube

In addition to the Southeast, some provinces of the Central Highlands and the Southwest also have many termites, Westerners like to use termite mushrooms to make pancakes, take the termite mushrooms to marinate a little salt and chili and then briefly stir-fry them with dried garlic. After putting it in the fresh yellow pancake on the stove, there is a crispy pancake, fragrant with the smell of rice flour mixed with coconut milk, accompanied by the sweet, crispy taste of termite mushrooms.

According to traders, termite mushrooms in the West like Ben Tre have a sweeter taste than termites growing in the Southeast provinces or the Central Highlands. It is the termite mushroom season, so the price of this food ranges from 600,000 to 800,000 VND per kg. Mushrooms at the beginning of the season are juicy and tough, crispy and nutritious, so they are often “sold out”.