Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weird Eats: Cordyceps Fungus

Before I begin, first watch this video about the unusual parasitic fungus: The Cordyceps Fungus

Fungus eating is hardly a new idea in any part of the world.  Some, like the Alba white truffle even cost top dollar (easily USD$1,000+ per pound in season), despite that it is essentially just a delicious dirt-covered fungus found by pigs and dogs.  Cordyceps, as you've just seen in the video, are an unusual parasitic fungus that brain wash insects before growing out of their heads--I hope to never see the day where there is a human equivalent.  

These fungi are also eaten by humans.  In China (it just had to be China), a certain type of cordyceps is prized for their medicinal properties.  The Caterpillar Cordyceps (Cordyceps Sinensis), grown from the infested bodies of the moth caterpillar, was once only available to Chinese Royalty.  But these days, you and everyone else can get your own little bottle of Caterpillar Cordyceps to ingest at home!

  Photo from

The most prized of Caterpillar Codyceps are found wild on the Tibetan plateau and gained some international notoriety when two Chinese athletes beat three world records at a track and field competition in 1993.  One of the main herb and food supplements they took to increase their stamina was Cordyceps.  Considered an herb, Cordyceps supposedly enhances the immune system, strengthens the lungs against asthma, fortifies kidneys and increases "sexual vitality" (according to reputable Eu Yan Sang).

Cordyceps can be ingested in pill form or double-boiled in water as a drink.  Alternatively, you can create a meal out of it and double-boil Cordyceps with duck meat or chicken, Chinese wolfberries and red dates.  -- A classic Chinese soup.


For those who can understand Chinese and want to know more, you may find this video useful.


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