The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat shiitake mushrooms. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest.

What shiitake mushrooms etiquette is

Shiitake etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat shiitake mushrooms. Such rules help avoid behaviors that disrespect your hosts or guests or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve shiitake mushrooms to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat shiitake mushrooms at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts.

What you should know about shiitake

The shiitake is a prized edible mushroom. It has a large umbrella-shaped cap, brown in color. The stem is thin in shape, tough in texture, and creamy in color. Their flavor is rich and meaty.

rules for how to serve and eat shiitake

Etiquette rules to serve and eat shiitake mushrooms

1) How to store shiitake mushrooms

It is best to eat fresh shiitake on the same day you buy them or within a few days.

Store shiitake in the fridge. Humidity risks spoiling shiitake’s flavor and texture. Thus, you should keep the mushrooms in a paper bag or wrap them in paper towels, which help absorb the humidity. In the fridge, shiitake can last up to a week. Do not store them in a plastic container or wrapped in plastic.

It is possible to freeze fresh shiitake. You can freeze them raw or cooked. In the freezer, shiitake mushrooms usually last up to 4 months. However, the texture, color, and taste of frozen shiitake deteriorate sensibly after a few weeks.

Store dry shiitake at room temperature. Place them in a cool and dry place, far from sources of heat and direct light. Ideally, keep them in a glass jar or container. Consume them by the expiration date on the packaging.

2) How to clean shiitake mushrooms

To clean shiitake mushrooms, gently separate the stem from the cap. Wash them in cold running water for about one minute. Gently remove any dirt. Finally, place them on a towel or on kitchen paper to dry.

Do not soak shiitake, as water risks spoiling the flavor and making the texture spongy. Do not peel shiitake before or after washing.

3) How to cook shiitake mushrooms

Due to food safety concerns, it is best to cook shiitake. Avoid eating shiitake mushrooms raw, unless you buy them from a reputable vendor who has washed them thoroughly and professionally.

Before cooking raw shiitake mushrooms, remove the stems with a knife. The stems are too tough to chew. However, you can use them for broth. Then, slice the caps or cut them into chunks.

Before cooking dry shiitake, reconstitute them by soaking them in hot water for about 20 minutes. You can subsequently use the water for cooking.

You can cook shiitake in various methods. Boil, grill, sautée, fry or deep-fry, or roast in the oven. They are ideal for soups and risotto recipes. You can cook them in stews, bake them in flans or quiches, or add them to salads or carpaccio.

Mushrooms are among the most disliked foods. Thus, before cooking and serving shiitake mushrooms to your guests, it is considerate to ask whether some guests cannot eat them.

4) How to serve & present shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are a prized food. They are appropriate for formal and informal meals.

You can serve shiitake as a side dish or complement. Serve them warm or at room temperature. Present them in chunks or slices, in a serving shallow bowl. Provide a serving spoon. Pickled or fried shiitake can be served as an appetizer too.

5) Food and wine to pair shiitake with

Shitake mushrooms go well with olive oil, butter, soy sauce, rosemary, and thyme. They are perfect for soup, risotto, and polenta. Avoid adding shitake to red pizza, as they do not pair well with tomato sauce.

You can match shiitake with eggs or meat, such as beef, pork, chicken, or poultry. They go well with other mushrooms, such as chanterelle. It is not common to pair shiitake with fish or seafood. The best vegetables to combine shiitake with are potatoes, onions, beans, and spinach. In general, shiitake do not combine well with cheese and dairy.

Shiitake pairs best with medium or full-bodied red wine. Suggestions include Shiraz, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon. The best white wine is an oaked Chardonnay or a medium-bodied Riesling.

6) How to eat shiitake mushrooms

Eat shiitake with a fork and knife. When they are served in chunks or slices, avoid using the knife if possible. Shiitake mushrooms are a common ingredient in Asian cuisines. At an Asian venue, eat shiitake with chopsticks.

The stem of shiitake is usually not served, as it is too tough to chew. If stems are served, you should discard them.

However, it is not polite to discard the caps of shiitake mushrooms. They are a prized food, and every part of the cap is edible. Even if you dislike them, try to make an effort and eat some of them. Discarding all the caps risks embarrassing your host.

shiitake mushroom etiquette mistake

Shiitake etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst shiitake etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Serving spoiled shiitake mushrooms.
  • 6/10. Pairing shiitake mushrooms with the wrong flavors.
  • 4/10. Serving the stems of shiitake.

Additional information for properly serving shiitake

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and plan a menu correctly.

Shiitake mushrooms are mostly made of water. They contain about 34 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz). One shiitake mushroom weighs about 18 grams and contains 6 calories.

How to buy the best shiitake mushrooms

A crucial factor in shiitake etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

The season for fresh shiitake mushrooms is between spring and autumn. Dry shiitake mushrooms are available all year round.

Choose the best

Good fresh shiitake must be firm. Discard mushrooms that are soft, musky, or sticky.

Alternatives to shiitake mushrooms

As a substitute for shiitake, try other mushrooms such as porcini or chanterelle.