Instant Jew’s Ear Fungus

Good to the last drop!

jewsearfungusThe Forward’s Bintel Blog recently reported:

Whether this is fungus for an instant Jew or instant ear fungus for the whole tribe, it’s comforting to know that the People’s Republic of China has every little thing covered.

Ha ha. But I decided to pull a froylein and show up those amateurs at the Forward. Did you in fact know that Jew’s Ear aka Judas’s ear fungus aka Auricularia auricula-judae aka jelly ear fungus derives it’s name from the belief that Judas, after betraying Christ, hung himself on an Elder Tree. Jew’s Ear Fungus can be found growing on dead Elder trees. Also it looks like a messed up ear. One additional note – during the Middle Ages all fungi were called Jew’s Meat. In any case, it’s used most often in Asian cooking – not just Chinese, but also Japanese and Vietnamese.

Here’s more information and a great recipe for Hot and Sour Soup using this yummy fungus.

Please do not be alarmed when instructed to “Put the Jews Ears in a small bowl.”


  1. Larry

    10/30/2009 at 1:37 pm

    1. I was just at the NY Public Library midtown branch at lunch, and saw a fungus in a Jewish ear. It was not pleasant. I hear instant Jewess ear is better

    2. Thank god that Asian entrepreneurs have found the secret for instand Jew Ear fungus. It saves so much time. I used to spend 30 minutes slow cooking Jews Ear Fungus.

    3. I hope you know that this product is a directretribution for all those Orthodox synagogues who, to this day, still have Chinese Auction fundraisers, as if “Chinese” means backwards. Hey! Wake up and smell the ramen.

  2. themiddle

    10/30/2009 at 2:02 pm

    I loved this post. I laughed, I cried.

  3. themicah

    10/30/2009 at 3:09 pm

    Can’t quite see the fourth character, but the label looks like it says 天然木耳 (literally, “natural wood ear”), which is pretty common in Chinese cooking (and very tasty!).

    You can buy dried (hence “instant” since you add water before cooking like any dried mushroom or fungus) 木耳 at just about any Asian grocery store–and plenty of mainstream North American grocery stores if they have a decent mushroom selection. But it’s not usually labeled “Jew’s ear.”

    I didn’t even realize until just now that one of the English translations of 木耳 was Jew’s Ear (I’ve always just referred to it as “wood ear” or “tree fungus”), but it’s right there on the wikipedia page and as wendy pointed out the Latin name even includes “judae” in it. Interesting.

    The weird part from my perspective is that the contents of the package look more like a jumble of chili peppers than 木耳, although it could be 木耳 with some chilis thrown in for good measure.

  4. pacalolo

    12/23/2009 at 11:32 am

    Just had this at Little Sheep Hot Pot in San Mateo. It was delicious!! It was listed on the menu as “wild tree fungus.” Needless to say I found its true name a little ironic after some research. Thx for the post.

  5. Mark

    7/23/2010 at 1:09 pm

    There’s also Jew’s Ear Juice: http://goo.gl/CIfJ

  6. J.M.M.

    10/7/2011 at 8:03 pm

    Jew’s harp and now Jew’s ear? Jews are named after weirdnesses it seems.

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