Vietnamese Caesar’s mushrooms
Amanita caesarea, the Caesar’s mushroom, is a highly appreciated mushroom in Europe. The species is known to be native to southern Europe and North Africa.
- Family: Amanitaceae
- Genus: Amanita
- Species: A. caesarea
- Synonyms: Agaricus caesareus
The Caesar’s mushroom is also found in Vietnam where it’s called nấm trứng gà or nấm hột gà (literally means chicken egg mushroom). In 2012, two subspecies of A. caesarea are identified in Cát Tiên National Park, a national park located in the south of Vietnam. They are: Amanita caesare var. caesarea, and Amanita caesare var. alba.
In another southern national park called Bù Gia Mập, a closely-related Caesar’s mushroom species is identified as Amanita hemibapha. So, possibly the Vietnamese Caesar’s mushrooms or the so-called chicken egg mushrooms can be either Amanita caesarea, or Amanita hemibapha.
In the past, the Vietnamese Caesar’s mushroom was only reported to occur in northwestern Vietnam. Recently, the Vietnamese Caesar’s mushrooms has been foraged more in the southern provinces such as Bình Phước, Tây Ninh, Đồng Nai, Đà Lạt (Lâm Đồng)… This delicious mushroom is known to grow under the canopy of resin trees (Dipterocarpus alatus).
Like the European Caesar’s mushroom, the local Caesar’s mushroom here is also highly-prized and sold for high prices. The cooking method is pretty similar to other common mushrooms in Vietnam.
But the mushroom congee is probably the unique dish. To cook this Caesar’s mushroom congee, the mushrooms are first sauteed, then get poured into a rice congee pot. The dish is served with finely chopped green onions, perilla, and vine spinach.