Don’t you hate it when there’s like, two different types of dried mushrooms and they’re called the same thing? It all started when I asked my hubby to buy some shiitake mushrooms, thinking they’d be Xiang Gu and he got me a packet of Hua Gu instead! Then I checked the packet, both said shiitake!
ARGHGHHGHGHHGlkjsdffff was my response!
Xiang Gu ?? (lit. fragrant mushrooms)
Xiang Gu is slightly flatter and much darker in colour. The important thing to note is that it does not have any patterns and it can be a little bigger than Hua Gu. These mushrooms are excellent in adding flavour to all types of dishes, particularly if briefly fried in oil on its own.
Hua Gu ?? (lit. flower mushroom)
Hua Gu is called that because Hua literally means flowers, and you can see a slight flowery pattern on the top of the mushrooms. That’s actually how you tell this apart from Xiang Gu. Also, Hua Gu is generally smaller and thicker looking.
How to know what to buy?
Since they’re so similar, wouldn’t be fine to just get whatever? Well, I would say no because the two taste very different. Xiang Gu is slightly softer and more fragrant, hence the name. Hua Gu has more of that thick, meaty taste – So those who love to chew would enjoy that one more.
Note: Both mushrooms need to be soaked in water at least overnight for it to become tender. The Hua Gu perhaps need even longer time. Make sure you throw out the dark water and drain well!