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Notable Nosh: Black Fungus Salad

Black Fungus Salad Harmony

Not long ago, I did a ‘Foodstuffs’ post featuring Chinese Black Fungus, and, while I subsequently posted a recipe from my own kitchen entitled Pork with Black Fungus and Cucumber, I also mentioned that this interesting ingredient is often used in cold preparations as well. I haven’t got around to doing one myself as yet but, recently, I had an opportunity to experience an excellent example of such a dish at Harmony Restaurant in Ottawa that I thought worth sharing with you…

The restaurant menu referred the dish you see above as  ‘Black Mushroom and Peanut in Vinegar’ but the accompanying Chinese text, reading老醋木耳花生 (lǎocù mù’ěr huāshēng), was a bit more explanatory. It specifies that ‘wood ear’, one of the two main varieties of black fungus, is used (as opposed to shiitake mushrooms, as is usually meant by the term ‘black mushroom’), while the vinegar was more particularly identified as ‘old vinegar’, which usually means one of the mild black Chinese vinegars that are not easily substituted with western varieties.

It was rather unfortunate, but the waitress who brought me the dish, apologetically informed me that the restaurant was out of peanuts currently and, accordingly these were absent in the dish I received.  What she did bring me, however, was a very generous helping of rehydrated wood-ears along with chunks of raw white onion and a good amount of coarsely chopped garlic in a sauce that was chiefly black vinegar, but also contained sesame oil and was sweetened with a little sugar. I am not sure if the onion chunks were a regular feature, or if they were added on this occasion as a replacement for the peanuts, but they worked really well and the result over all was delicious, with the unique texture of the wood ears making the dish something both interesting and special.

I want to reproduce this dish at home sometime soon, but until I can obtain the proper Chinese black vinegar, I may have to content myself with a dilute balsamic in its stead. I will however, definitely add peanuts when I do get around to making it, and I will certainly share the results here on Sybaritica…



9 Comments Post a comment
  1. That sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to hear how you do with a different kind of vinegar. It’s true that black vinegar, well, there is not much else like it.

    December 13, 2012
    • No, there isn’t 🙂 I wanted to get some in Ottawa but I had already bought some lovely Chinese rice wine for cooking, as well as some hard-to-get sippables for the holidays so I had no more luggage room…. ah, well… next time!

      December 13, 2012
      • Yes, my luggage always tends to get bottle heavy when I travel too!

        December 13, 2012
  2. Looks like a delicious dish. I’ve always enjoyed wood ear fungus and other similar fungus dishes. My mother did make such dishes. I occasionally do.

    December 13, 2012
  3. Perhaps it was Chinkiang vinegar that was used in the dish.

    December 13, 2012
    • I didn’t ask, but I am fairly sure that’s what it was.

      December 13, 2012
  4. Well, I have to say that it doesn’t have the looks, but I trust your judgment, so it must be delicious!! 😉

    December 13, 2012

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  1. Foodstuff: Chinkiang Vinegar (镇江香醋) | Sybaritica

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