Matsutake mushrooms are very popular in Bhutan (translated from Japanese – “pine mushroom”). On August 15, a festival of these mushrooms takes place in the village of Genekha, near Thimphu.
In Bhutan, they are called “Sangay Shamu”. The festival not only brings together local residents, but every year attracts an increasing number of tourists.
Matsutake Mushroom Festival in Bhutan
Matsutake is a seasonal product and they grow only in deep pine forests. It is impossible to grow them artificially. Therefore, in August, the hunt begins for these special mushrooms, which are appreciated in Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisines for a special flavour. The village of Genekha and Ura in Bumthang is famous for its mushroom industry.
The festival shows not only matsutake but also other mushrooms that the local population collects and consumes.
In a separate tent exhibited all the mushrooms that grow in the forests of Bhutan with a detailed description.
Different types of Mushroom in Bhutan
Mushrooms are divided into four types: edible; the degree of edibility is unknown; poisonous; non-food (but used by locals).
If anyone who wants to learn more about mushrooms can consult with the coordinator who is next to the tent.
And if someone is a big fan of mushrooms, you need to buy at least a kilogram, because locals sell mushrooms during the event at a low price.
The festival also exhibits autumn vegetables and fruits grown in their gardens and orchards.
Not only local products are promoted here, but training is also provided. For example, during the festival, the Royal Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (RITH) bring its third-semester students on a field trip.
The festival lasts several days during which various cultural programs are held – local dances performed by residents of the surrounding villages along with traditional mask dances are also showcased.
During the festival time, you can taste various Bhutanese dishes and also “Sangay Shamu soup” that help to soothe your taste bud with rustic aroma scent of pine mushroom.
It should be noted that several more mushroom festivals are held in Bhutan – in the Bumthang region on August 23 and on August 24.