Termites make right with mushrooms | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Termites make right with mushrooms

Thailand has a wide variety of the tasty fungal treats, but most prized are those cultivated by insects that pop up before and after the rainy season

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Many of the mushrooms found in Thailand are particular to one region. There are a wide variety of mushroom types, and they vary according to the local terrain and weather. Some mushroom thrive in soil nourished by rotted leaves, other grow in heaps of rice straw, decaying wood, or crevices in rocks. Local people know where to find each type, and which to select for a given dish. But sometimes they make dangerous mistakes. There are poisonous mushrooms that strongly resemble the familiar, edible ones, and incorrect choices have resulted in death. 

raw termite mushrooms.

In food preparation, each mushroom has its own special qualities. Some are tough and hard to chew but have a delicious fragrance, like the het lom that grows in the North at the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the cool season. Northerners cook them together with other vegetables to make the dish called kaeng khae. Villagers believe that although they can be tough, the mushrooms that grow in the middle of the cool season, when there is no rainfall, have a fragrance that makes the kaeng khae especially appetising.

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