I prefer to shop at the local wet market, especially for my fruits and vegetables instead of going to the supermarket. I don’t know. I just found veggies packed in plastic bags not so appealing, and most of all you get to see more local produce at the market, which is something I think we should be promoting and supporting.
Another reason is that you can find some interesting “local” or more “ethnic” food from the wet market. Besides the fresh produce, you can find many small specialty grocery stores inside the local markets where you can find authentic Thai or Shanghainese ingredients. I think I will leave it to another time to talk about the wet markets in length.
So this morning I went to the Wanchai market and saw some fresh “cloud ear fungus” (or black fungus). Most of the time I can only find black fungus in their dried form so when I saw the fresh ones I was pretty excited.
Cloud ear fungus (or black fungus) is actually a very common type of edible mushroom. It is mostly known for its high content of iron, in fact, 20 times higher than the highest content leafy vegetables spinach, and very little fat. 1 cup serving of black fungus only has 80 calories and less than 1 gram of fat, and surprisingly, 2.6 grams of protein, making it a pretty high-protein vegetable. It also has twice the the amount of calcium compared to milk.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, black fungus is used to improve blood circulation and therefore known to reduce coronary heart disease and high blood cholesterol. Some even believes It is an anti-cancer remedy and a detox food as it contains pectin that can absorb the toxic substances in the body.
Marinated Black Fungus Salad is a very popular Shanghainese/Sichuan appetizer. If you go to Din Tai Fung (the very famous Shanghainese restaurant) a small plate of this will cost you HK70.
I bought half a catty for HK10 and I got a huge plate of it.
Spicy and Sour Cloud Ear Fungus Salad
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
- 50g fresh cloud ear fungus ( you can also use 3 tablespoon of dried ones)
- 1tsp chopped garlic
- 1 fresh chopped chilli or sichuan chilli oil
- 1 tsp of Coriander
- 1 tsp of light soy sauce
- 1 tsp of Chinese black vinegar (You can also use rice vinegar)
- 2 tsp of sesame oil
- Wash the fresh fungus carefully. If you use the dried ones, soak them in water for about 30 minutes. Remove the ends and break them into smaller pieces.
- Prepare a large pot of water and blanch the the fungus in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Then drain it and set aside.
- Mix the marinate with the fungus. add chopped garlic, coriander and fresh chilli. Mix well.
- Refrigerate for an hour and serve.
- If you use dried cloud ear fungus, after soaking they expand a lot, so a small handful will already give you a good size appetiser.
- If you like spicy, you can add Sichuan chilli oil.
- It tastes even better overnight, but you may lose a little bit of crunchiness in the texture.