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Shiitake are one of the most well-known types of mushrooms, especially in the Japanese cuisine in which they’re ubiquitous.

While they’re still used in other regional and national dishes as well, their popularity in Japan is also reflected in their production: More than 80% of shiitake mushrooms worldwide are Japanese grown.

These fungi are so popular because of their deep umami flavor, which is rich and earthy. They’re integral to certain types of dashi — the broth that’s the centerpiece of Japanese cooking — particularly vegetarian versions.

Other than in dashi, shiitake are also common in soups and stews, sauteed, stir-fried, and in many other savory, umami-rich dishes. They look kind of like a more rustic, woodland-esque brown button mushroom; they’re a medium-sized mushroom with a cap that’s a mildly –textured, earthy brown that somehow looks like how it tastes.

Beyond being so rich and delicious, shiitake mushrooms are high in fiber and certain vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, zinc, vitamin D, and more, plus a bit of protein as well. You can find shiitake at all Uwajimaya stores in our produce department as well as dried shiitake mushrooms in our grocery department.