Rare ‘kulat taun’ mushroom draws crowds at Kuching street vendor’s stall

Cleaned and shredded 'kulat taun'.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, April 12: A rare wild fungus known as ‘kulat taun’ (yearly mushroom) in Iban, and a species of Termitomyces (termite mushroom), has garnered local attention at a makeshift tent set up by street vegetable vendor Jacklina Sofiana.

Hailing from Lundu, 23-year-old Jacklina explained that the fungus grows wild on the ground among oil palm trees and shrubs, and claims that it can only be foraged from its habitat once a year, hence the name.

“These days, only older local natives can differentiate the fungus, but young people like me generally refer to it as ‘kulat sawit’ since it grows wild in palm oil estates,” she shared with DayakDaily.

Jacklina (left), and her cousin Maria preparing to sell their goods in their makeshift vegetable tent.

Jacklina revealed that these fungus species only emerge in their habitat when the weather is unusually hot and there is heavy rainfall for days.

“Like the unpredictable weather now. It’s hot, then wet occasionally,” she added.

Despite not knowing the exact nutritional value of the mushroom, Jacklina emphasized that her family always regarded every edible wild mushroom and plant as nutritious.

“We cook it broth-style with other wild vegetables from the jungle like ‘midin’ or ‘paku’, fry it with ‘pucuk manis’, or add it as an extra ingredient to egg omelettes,” she explained.

Jacklina noted the increasing preference for organic produce among city dwellers and aimed to supply fresh, pesticide-free vegetables sourced from the jungle.

Operating from 6 am to 6 pm daily at BDC Commercial Centre, Jacklina’s vegetable stall offers a variety of foraged and locally grown vegetables, including the rare ‘kulat taun’ mushroom sold at RM5 per plate.

She urged customers to arrive early for the freshest produce, adding that she could reserve specific wild vegetables upon request.

With the assistance of her 12-year-old cousin Maria, Jacklina ensures her stall is ready to cater to the needs of local customers seeking fresh, organic options.

Jacklina’s makeshift vegetable station is located at BDC Commercial Centre and operates daily from 6am to 6pm. — DayakDaily