The family-run JA Lees Farm (owned by the Lees family) in Indang, Cavite, have been growing mushrooms for several years, Jasmin Lees tells us, as Indang has a cooler and more moist climate that is suitable for growing the delectable fungi.
Lees tells us that microwaving their snack for a few seconds gives it an extra crunch and brings out the flavors more, though it tastes great as is as well.
Oyster mushrooms provide the base for these chips-alternative, which are then coated in an egg mixture that uses cassava flour and tapioca flour (for a crunchier chicharon, says Lees) instead of your regular all-purpose flour, and fried in coconut oil. The chicharon are then “de-oiled” to remove 95% of the oil so its natural mushroom taste comes forward, and then the chicharon are baked to give it a toasty flavor. The result is a hearty snack with an incredibly robust bite.
You can add it on top of your salad or palabok, eat it with a vinegar dip, or even mix it in your pasta or congee. Or just shovel it in your mouth like we do.
Their bestselling flavor is the Peri-Peri, with a Portuguese seasoning both sweet and spicy says Lees. They also do well on the flagship classic flavor, seasoned with just salt and pepper, as well as the simple garlic flavor. Lees tells us her personal favorite is the wasabi, while those with a taste for spice go for the jalapeño cheese. They recently have developed more savory flavors with a hickory barbecue blend and a beef tapa flavor for a more Filipino twist.
JA Lees Farms
A local mushroom farm that produces plain and flavored mushroom chicharon.
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