Magic Mushroom Hot Pot


“If you see little people, let me know, I’ll bring you to the hospital.” I laughed at my friend’s remark.

“I’m being serious,” her smile was gone. “If you see the little men without Snow White, you could die.”

You know a mushroom hot pot (mó gu huǒ guō) must be good if your guide first warns you about the possible side effects.

Yunnan, China is famous for their variety of mushrooms, many with medicinal qualities, and hot pots are the way to indulge. And I guess a few Kunming mushrooms are like what they serve up in Amsterdam.

But a mushroom hot pots is not a do- it -yourself project. There is signage everywhere about what varieties to avoid. 

My friend brought me to a local place on the north side of the Kunming, not in a mall or touristy part of town. It was in an old dorm structure, a real throw-back to the seventies.

We were given our own room, with cement walls and a painted mural., chipping off. The middle of our table had a built-in to keep the pot sizzling. As old school as it looked,  we still placed our order and paid via WeChat.

A pot of seven mushrooms magically appeared, varying in size stringy and orange or pornographic in proportion.

Many hot pot restaurateurs will not give you chop sticks until the mushrooms have cooked the correct time. Others will give you a timer. The size of the timer changes depending on how many mushrooms you order, the varieties and your own personal mix.

We waited patiently for twenty-five minutes.

The hot pot broth  something you want to enjoy at different stages, the flavor getting more intense from the “Lipton mushroom instant soup” to the holy cow. If mushrooms had a Scoville for earthy flavor the both, the bottom of the pot would be off the hook in haberno territory

A chicken was in the mó gu huǒ guō. I scooped up the lucky bits. 

Yes, lucky, from the chicken foot to the head, so you would be a real schmuck no to eat it.

In case you’re wondering, chicken head tastes a lot like that eraser you used to shew on in the third grade. The eye ball is similar to rubbery skin of jell-o.

We ate and ate and ate and ate but the seven dwarves never showed up. 

Snow White didn’t either. 

My book is here!

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