As 2018 was becoming 2019, Roman was on a 3 week trip across Vietnam. The purpose of the trip was a buddy’s wedding in Saigon, but the bulk of it was stuffed with mushrooms. From a presentation at FabLab Saigon to visiting local mushroom farms… and oh how incredible the markets were.
First thing’s first, from Chicago to Vietnam. Once there, a scooter was necessary. If you can drive a motorbike in Saigon, you’re ready to run with the bulls!
Can’t say this enough, do yourself a favor and get yourself some paddy straw mushrooms. They’re so good. And as you can imagine, anything wrapped in bacon is good, but grilled bacon wrapped enoki definitely hits the spot.
We connected with FabLab Saigon before heading over with plans to collaborate on a project together. One of their members had been attempting to grow mushrooms on rice straw salvaged from the rice fields, where it’s typically burned.
A typhoon changed our plans, but we were still able to visit for a day, learn about their members’ projects and share what we’ve been working on.
Traditional Mushroom Farms
We spent a day in Dalat visiting the local farmers and saw all kinds of crops, black pepper corns, silk worms, coffee and of course, mushrooms. One farm grew Elephant Ear mushrooms (a.k.a. Wood Ear) hanging in grass huts. They would soak the hut with water and grow in the dark. When they were fully fruited, the sides of the hut rolled up and the wind would dry out the mushrooms on the substrate block. Then harvest.