How Shiitake Mushrooms Look and Taste Like?

Shiitake mushrooms are easily recognizable for their brown, convex (umbrella-like) caps, off-white gills, and tan stems. 

The caps themselves can range in size from less than one inch to up to 10 inches in diameter and sometimes have white cracks in their surfaces that can indicate a more flavorful mushroom. 

In Japanese cuisine, those mushrooms with lots of cracks are known as donko or flower mushrooms. Donko or not, shiitake mushrooms are known for their strong, earthy flavor. 

They’re packed with umami thanks to the amino acid glutamate. When cooked, shiitake caps have velvety, meaty texture, while the stems can be tough—or pleasantly chewy, if cooked long enough.