US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Kicked Off China Visit Dining On Magic Mushrooms; Aide Confirms

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 07/17/2023
An aide confirmed to CNN on Saturday that US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen consumed multiple servings of a Yunnanese delicacy known for its hallucinogenic qualities as her first meal in China last week.

The Yunnanese restaurant chain Yi Zuo Yi Wang confirmed on Weibo that Yellen and her delegation ate four portions of the wild, possibly psychedelic mushroom jian shou qing as soon as they arrived in China. The chain revealed that "our staff said she loved mushrooms very much," noting the extra portions she had ordered and calling the day "an extremely magical day."



The cherished local delicacy, known as the jian shou qing mushroom, is not psychoactive when fully cooked but is sufficiently poisonous when improperly prepared that it was included in the Botanical Society of Yunnan's index of poisonous mushrooms last year, sparking debate over whether it should be kept on the menu. However, its widespread acceptance ensures its survival.

Dr. Peter Mortimer of the Kunming Institute of Botany told CNN that unlike more well-known species of psychedelic mushrooms, the compounds behind jian shou qing's hallucinogenic properties are still unknown. Jian shou qing's scientific name is Lanmaoa asiatica.

Following a local food blogger's post about seeing Yellen devour the magic mushroom in Beijing, the dish briefly went viral, selling out in many of the chain's restaurants, according to the report. The state-run news outlet Xinhua featured a segment on the safe consumption of the fungi, which can be distinguished from more common local species of porcini mushrooms by the startling blue color the interiors take under pressure or when cut.

The staff at the chain restaurant Yi Zuo Yi Wang where Yellen and her guests had dinner insisted that all of their jian shou qing dishes were cooked to perfection. According to Mortimer, the Yunnan region of China is home to about 800 different species of mushrooms, which are prominently featured in local celebrations and even city planning and architecture.

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After numerous setbacks between Washington and Beijing, such as President Joe Biden's description of his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, as a "dictator," and the administration's increasingly generous weapons sales to Taiwan in defiance of Chinese objections, Yellen called her four-day visit to China a "step forward."

The treasury secretary argued that the export restrictions put in place by the Biden administration are "motivated by straightforward national security concerns" rather than an attempt to "gain economic advantage," insisting that "the world is big enough for both of our countries to thrive."

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