The shiitake is an edible mushroom native to East Asia.
Shiitake have many uses in Chinese and Japanese cuisines.
They are served in miso soup, used as the basis for a kind of vegetarian dashi, and also as an ingredient in many steamed and simmered dishes.
In Thailand, they can be fried as well as steamed.
Shiitake are also one of a few known natural sources of vegan and kosher vitamin D (vitamin D2).
Shiitake mushrooms have been researched for their medicinal benefits, most notably their anti-tumor properties in laboratory mice.