Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

nameko the Japanese name for a small mushroom, Pholiota nameko, which grows wild in beech woods. It is also cultivated, formerly on wetted beech logs and now on a substrate of sawdust and rice bran. Nameko means ‘viscous mushroom’ and its salient characteristic is an unusual slimy coating. The cap is yellow or amber and shaped like that of a cultivated button mushroom. See illustration.

The flavour is pleasant and slightly aromatic. Nameko are used extensively in Japanese cooking, e.g. in soups such as miso soup, and stews, and cost less than the more famous shiitake and matsutake mushrooms. They are sold fresh (although they do not keep well) and in cans and preserved in brine in jars.