Saigoneer

Back Arts & Culture » Travel » An Eye-Opening Mushroom Farm in Da Lat for Budding Mycologists

An Eye-Opening Mushroom Farm in Da Lat for Budding Mycologists

It could be argued that mushrooms are among nature's strangest creations.

If not the oddest, mushrooms are certainly among the most diverse, with roughly 14,000 known species around the world ranging from wildly colorful to dreadfully bland. They can kill you, or they can be absolutely delicious.

In fact, the largest, oldest organism on the planet is a mushroom: the immense honey mushroom in Oregon's Malheur National Forest, which spans an incomprehensible 3,726,563 square meters, dwarfing a blue whale, let alone a paltry elephant. Meanwhile the cup fungus, according to the pleasantly named Mushroom Expert website, has a cap that spans just 4 millimeters.

Làng Nấm Đà Lạt, an export-focused mushroom farm 30 minutes from central Da Lat, allows visitors to get an up-close look at how eight different species of 'shrooms are produced. It's impossible to miss the farm thanks to the imposing mushroom statue at the entrance, while an extremely friendly mushroom mural greets you at the reception building.

A quick note here: if you don't speak Vietnamese, call in advance to make sure that an English-speaking guide is available.

After checking in, we were taken on a tour through each step of the mushroom production process at Làng Nấm, which exports exclusively to Japan, though you can buy bags of dried mushrooms to take home or mushroom hotpot at the onsite restaurant (more on that later).

While mushrooms may call to mind images of damp undergrowth, rich soil, and a shaded forest, all of the work here takes place above-ground. The journey starts with sugar cane, rubber tree bark, and cotton, which are packed into plastic bags with mushroom spores to form a self-contained compost system that the mushrooms can grow from.

The bags are then placed in a mist-filled greenhouse for 45-60 days, depending on the species, and they eventually turn into fully grown mushrooms that can be eaten. Each greenhouse features numerous racks with bagged mushrooms at various stages of their growth journey.

The types of mushrooms grown here include nấm hồng chi (lingzhi), nấm hương (shiitake), nấm hồng ngọc (pink oyster), nấm bào ngư trắng (oyster), nấm hoàng kim (golden oyster), nấm notaky, nấm tú trân (lentinus sajor-caju), and nấm hầu thủ (lion's mane).

Some had developed into brilliant hues of color, while others looked like a loaves of bread with strange outcroppings bursting out of them.

The last stop on the (admittedly brief) tour is the verdant farm's produce greenhouse, which grows vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, and also houses a couple of rather hungry rabbits.

Once the walk around the farm is completed, you're able to buy bags of dried mushrooms among any of the varieties grown at Làng Nấm, each of which has their own health benefits: some aid digestion, others help your skin, etc. 

Shiitake, for example, is said to boost general immunity and can help fight cancer, while lion's mane reduces the risk of heath disease, relieves mild symptoms of depression and can speed the recovery of nervous system injuries.

Whichever you choose, they are sure to be delicious, and far healthier than your average snack. The real treat, however, is the mushroom hotpot, which features every species produced at the farm, combined to create a delectable mushroom feast the likes of which you probably won't find anywhere else.

In short, if you're looking for a unique, delicious way to spend a few hours in Da Lat, look no further than this delightful mushroom kingdom.

Làng Nấm Đà Lạt doesn't reply to Facebook messages, so be sure to call them at +84 88 922 28 88 for more information or to book a tour.

Partner Content