During her recent visit to China, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dined on a regional mushroom delicacy known for its hallucinogenic properties, according to a report by CNN.
Yellen had this wild, maybe a bit too wild, mushroom party right after her plane touched down in China. The restaurant confirmed this on Weibo, saying Yellen was pretty much in love with their shrooms and even gave us a new word for it: an “extremely magical day.” She reportedly enjoyed not one, not two, but FOUR helpings of jian shou qing, a wild mushroom native to the Yunnan region, at the local Yi Zuo Yi Wang restaurant chain. These mushrooms, scientifically named Lanmaoa asiatica, can exhibit psychedelic effects if not fully cooked, but the compounds responsible for these effects remain unidentified.
Yellen’s dining choice sparked a viral trend in China, with the restaurant chain reporting a surge in demand for the mushroom dish and some branches running out of stock. Subsequently, Xinhua, a state news outlet, aired a segment teaching viewers how to consume the mushroom safely. The jian shou qing mushroom, which turns a distinctive blue color when sliced, had previously been listed in the Yunnan Botanical Society’s index of poisonous mushrooms due to its potential toxicity if improperly prepared. Despite this, its popularity has ensured its place on menus across the region.
Yellen’s visit to China was seen as a progressive move following several setbacks between Washington and Beijing, such as President Joe Biden calling Xi Jinping a “dictator” and selling weapons to Taiwan like it’s Black Friday despite China’s protests. During her four-day trip, Yellen maintained that the US was not seeking to detach its economy from China’s, stating that the world was large enough for both countries to prosper. She defended the US’s export restrictions, asserting that they were driven by national security concerns rather than economic advantage.
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