Shiitake are edible mushrooms native to East Asia.
They're tan to dark brown, with caps that grow between 2 and 4 inches (5 and 10 cm).
Shiitake mushrooms have two main uses — as food and as supplements.
You can cook with both fresh and dried shiitake, although the dried ones are slightly more popular.
Dried shiitake have an umami flavour that’s even more intense than when fresh.
Umami flavor can be described as savory or meaty. It’s often considered the fifth taste, alongside sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
Both dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms are used in stir-fries, soups, stews, and other dishes.
Shiitake mushrooms have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. They’re also part of the medical traditions of Japan, Korea, and Eastern Russia
In Chinese medicine, shiitake are thought to boost health and longevity as well as improve circulation.
Studies suggest that some of the bioactive compounds in shiitake may protect against cancer and inflammation.