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Go to the forest to find the termite mushroom

THUA THIEN – HUE – In mid-December, the sun was shining, Mr. Nguyen Huu Ninh, 31 years old, in Huong Binh commune, Huong Tra town, went to acacia melaleuca forest to hunt termites mushroom.

Carrying a few nylon bags, Mr. Ninh stopped at a 2-year-old acacia forest about a kilometer away from home. Rolling his eyes around the dense layer of dry leaves, seeing the fungus growing next to the rotting tree stump, he brushed off the wet Melaleuca leaves, pulled each plant into a bag. The mushroom nest weighs nearly 0.5 kg.

Mr. Ninh said that termite fungi often grow naturally in termites nesting areas, under the canopy of rubber forests or acacia melaleuca forests, where there are no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. After a long cold rain and warm weather, this product grows a lot.

Go to the forest to find the termite mushroom
Mr. Ninh looks for termites mushrooms in the Acacia melaleuca forest. Photo: Vo Thanh

In Thua Thien Hue, termite mushrooms grow from December to January next year. This type is rich in nutrients, has no toxins, grows quickly and fades quickly, so it must take advantage of the time to harvest. Many people from 3-4 o’clock wore flashlights into the forest to find mushrooms.

After many years of going to the Acacia melaleuca forest, Mr. Ninh knows the location of the termite fungus. “This species is very strange, this place will grow again next year. Mushrooms grow 4-5 cm above the ground, hidden in the layer of dry leaves, so you have to look closely to see”, Mr. Ninh said.

The termite mushrooms that Mr. Ninh can harvest. Photo: Vo Thanh

In the past few days, the hundreds of hectares of acacia melaleuca forest in Huong Tra town have attracted dozens of people to hunt for termites. According to Mr. Dao Xuan Minh, 31 years old, in Huong Binh commune, finding mushrooms has become a seasonal profession with good income, many people earn millions of dong due to luck encountering a few kilograms of mushrooms. The unopened termite mushrooms are bought by traders for 350,000 VND/kg, the blooming ones are priced at 150,000 VND/kg.

“Termites are easy to harvest, but it’s not easy to find. People with predestined people meet several nests to earn millions of dong. People who don’t have the grace to walk all day in the Acacia melaleuca forest can’t find them,” Minh said. Yesterday, I had to return empty-handed despite walking for a few hours in the forest.

Because termites grow in acacia forest under dry leaves and thick grass, people need to watch out for snakes and avoid slipping.

Termites mushrooms are stir-fried with vegetables. Photo: Vo Thanh

Specializing in purchasing termite mushrooms, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy, 40 years old, said that the price of mushrooms is high but very few sellers. “People often keep it in the refrigerator to eat gradually or give it to relatives. The day before, I could only buy 5 kg when I sat all day long,” Ms. Thuy said.

People in Thua Thien Hue often stir-fry termite mushrooms with meat or shrimp, some people cook with sticky rice.


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