Worm grass flower is not a flower but a mushroom, or rather a fungus. Cordycep militaris, as it’s known in Latin, is a parasitic fungus that mummifies and kills butterfly pupae in order to grow. In China it’s used, as are so many other foods, for its health benefits. Most Chinese tend to use the mushrooms in a chicken soup, but I found it at a local restaurant in a mushroom and tofu soup served with vegetable balls.
As a whole, the dish was amazing. The vegetable balls were delicious, the soup tasted slightly medicinal, but mostly of mushrooms, and everything worked very well together. The worm grass flower on its own was a bit overpowering, but was perfectly pleasant to eat when mixed with the other ingredients.
Smell and taste go hand in hand. The parasitic fungus tasted exactly like that, fungus. Imagine if you don’t clean your bathroom for a week or two, and you get that mildewy smell – don’t judge, we were all students once. When I had the mushrooms on their own the taste reminded me of that mildew smell, intensely earthy. It worked in this dish, but I’m not sure if they would replace mushrooms in other dishes.
Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5