China in Photos

China in Photos: Day No. 49 In Which We See Life-Sized Magical Mushrooms

And no, we weren’t on ‘shrooms ourselves.

Elsewhere in the world you would be forgiven for assuming the above photo to be an invitation to some sort of illicit psychedelic party…if such events were typically advertised on giant billboards along the highway.

Here though, I think this is merely an invitation for the richest of the rich to indulge their deeply Chinese obsession with fungi.

I don’t know much about the psychedelic mushroom trade in the U.S. but I’m pretty sure it is nothing compared to the market here in China for a very specific type of fungi that grows on the back of a very specific species of (dead) catapillar.

I can not make this stuff up.

I’m fairly sure that rare fungi are important ingredients in traditional Chinese medicines.  Some are thought to cure cancer.  Others, I’m sure, are thought to be useful for procuring healthy baby male heirs.

And if they aren’t good for any of those things, they usually taste good.

Because pretty much everything in China seems to taste good.

Though I think I’ll be avoiding the dead caterpillar back fungi for at least a little while longer.

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