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Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia. It is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries. It is considered a delicacy and a medicinal mushroom, often used in cuisine in many Asian countries including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai.
This mushroom is widely known as Shiitake in the English-speaking world, and in Chinese it is called xiang gu or fragrant mushroom. It is called dong gu ( winter mushroom) or hua gu ( Flower mushroom, which has a craking pattern on the mushroom's upper surface) for the higher grades of shiitake.
Shiitake are often dried and sold as preserved food. They must be soaked in water before using. In Chinese cuisine, they are often sauteed in vegetarian dishes. In Japan, they are served in miso soup, or as an ingredient in many steamed and simmered dishes.
Shiitake mushrooms contains high level of vitamin D, after exposed to sunlight or UV light. This is notable due to the fact that mushrooms are the only vegan source of vitamin D.