Rainy season in Yunnan usually starts in May. At the same time it's the start of Yunnan's wild mushroom season and from June onwards they gradually appear on local markets - especially after heavy rain showers. During July and August the season peaks in terms of rain as well as trading and eating wild mushroom which then also are most affordable. Certain kinds of precious wild mushroom are exported to Japan and Europe, for example the famous matsutake and of course the highly demanded truffles.
The Mushuihua Market (literally wood, water & flower market) is the biggest wild mushroom market in Yunnan. Located in Kunming, a large variety of mushrooms are are being offered and sold here. The sellers are very familiar about the single types and also know about how to cook them and when which mushroom is poisonous and why. A good occasion to learn about Yunnan's diversified cuisine!
It is important to learn about wild mushrooms if they shall be eaten. Only because they are poisonous it doesn't automatically mean that they are not edible. Some toxic wild mushroom just have to be treated accordingly to turn them into another delicious Yunnan dish. Unfortunately, from June to October also the food poisoning season in Yunnan peaks - mostly due to wild mushrooms and an incorrect way of preparing and cooking them. While some mushroom food poisoning may end in colorful and even enjoyable hallucinations, others die or get very sick. The hallucinations reported about often even resemble each other: many affected people are talking about tiny people dancing on roofs! Well...
Anyhow, for gourmands and mushroom lovers, Yunnan's wild mushrooms shouldn't be missed as every dish is a unique experience (with or without hallucinations :). In our tours, also meals can be included if requested. Contact us for more information. Also, check out our Yunnan Culinary Tour, a great experience for all the foodies out there!