Nakhon Ratchasima locals spoon up a ‘fungi’-tastic forest feast

Image courtesy of Khaosod

Residents of Nakhon Ratchasima have been flocking to the forests, armed with spoons and ladles, to collect hed phor, a mushroom and local delicacy. This sought-after mushroom, prized for its distinct texture and flavour, can fetch up to 500 baht per kilogramme in the market.

Also known as false earthstar or barometer earthstar, reports indicate that an influx of locals and visitors have been making their way to Makha Hill, located in Ban Nong Bot, Khok Krasian Subdistrict, Khon Buri District, Nakhon Ratchasima, to hunt for the mushrooms.

The recent continuous rainfall has created the perfect conditions for these mushrooms to sprout from the ground.

Nakhon Ratchasima locals spoon up a 'fungi'-tastic forest feast | News by Thaiger
A basket of hed phor

The process of hed phor collection requires minimal tools, with most gatherers using simple utensils such as spoons or ladles. These tools help them inspect areas around rocks or under trees, where water flow marks often indicate the presence of mushroom spores.

Locals note that these spots are more likely to yield a good harvest of fungi compared to other areas.

Typically, hed phor does not emerge visibly above ground. These mushrooms, roughly the size of a thumb, remain concealed beneath the soil, prompting mushroom hunters to look for patches of cracked earth, which indicate the presence of the mushrooms

Once they spot these signs, they use their spoons or ladles to dig and unearth the clustered mushrooms.

Found in abundance

Due to their clustered nature, finding one mushroom often leads to discovering more in the surrounding area. Each day, residents gather these mushrooms to cook and reduce household expenses.

Excess mushrooms are sold, fetching a high price of 400 to 500 baht per kilogramme.

One resident, Nok Banhanbut shared her experience. After continuous rainfall and favourable weather conditions, hed phor began to appear in abundance.

Upon receiving a call from her relatives about the mushroom bloom, she and her friends pooled money for fuel and travelled nearly 40 kilometres specifically to collect the mushrooms. Each person managed to gather nearly 1 kilogramme.

She mentioned that the demand for mushrooms is so high within the community that the supply often falls short. Despite the high price, locals prefer to keep most of their harvest for personal consumption since the mushrooms only appear infrequently.

This year marks a particularly abundant season, prompting many to take advantage of the opportunity.

Commonly, hed phor is used in various traditional dishes. Popular recipes include hed phor soups and curries, owing to the mushroom’s excellent flavour and crunchy texture.

Some even incorporate it into dishes like larb (a spicy salad) or stir-fried spicy dishes, depending on personal preferences. Each dish featuring hed phor is renowned for its delicious taste, making these mushrooms highly sought after among food enthusiasts, reported Khaosod.

Thailand News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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