Panangan: Uong na Pungol
Repost from Bucaio
The others, like uong na ponti (mushrooms sprouting at the base of banana stalks), or uong na kawayan(those found clustered around bamboo groves), are tough and chewy, and not exactly flavorful.
For almost a month the sun did not shine in my part of the country, which was expected, as it was the rainy season, after all. What with one super typhoon after another, dragging along the habagat so that not a patch -of earth or pavement – was left dry for weeks.
So it was hightime for mushrooms to flourish. People attribute it to thunder and lightning, which are plentiful in this season as well. And so at the markets in Pangasinan uong by the bigao (bilao) were everythwere.
They were being sold for Php15 per bunch of about four pieces tied together at the stalks. That would seem cheap, though compared to the paler and unsubstantial oyster mushrooms that are cultured year-round, they're a bit expensive.
But uong na pungol are only ever here while the rains drop. And so I'll enjoy their brief stint in this world as much as I can.
Uong na pungol look a lot like the cultured variety, but their outer skin is brown, and their caps have pointed peaks. They're meatier, too, and tastier, because they come from the earth. And they don't keep. They sprout overnight, and have to be harvested in the morning and cooked within the day, for they wilt and decay by nightfall.
So we mixed the uong with beef and green papayas and potatoes and slurped bowls of the scalding soup. And no matter that life and all things are transitory, because a moment well-lived is more precious than an infinite lifetime.