Taiwanese-Style Popcorn Mushrooms (Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe)

Updated: 4 days ago

If there’s one thing I miss about Taiwan, it’s their amazing street food (and food, in general). I was reminiscing of nights walking through the bustling night markets in Taipei with all the aroma of food being and seeing what each stall had to offer and deciding what to eat—which is always the challenging part.

These mushrooms are my take on popcorn chicken I used to enjoy in night markets as a late-night snack or in bubble tea shops with a tall cup of fruit tea.They’re oyster mushrooms fried to a crisp with some basil leaves and finished off with some onion salt. I really miss the food in Taiwan, but for now this is probably the closest thing I'll have to tasting their amazing offerings!

I also shared a blogpost about the food I've tried during my visits to Taiwan in this blogpost.

Anyway, you'll also only need 7 ingredients for this really tasty snack that you can munch on. It's also pretty addicting if you ask me!

Here's a close-up of these mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms have an amazing texture and are so good when fried to a crisp!

Find the full recipe below!

Are you looking for more delicious, vegan recipes? Check out my latest Vegan Kitchen eBook, that has over 95 recipes (and a whole section for Asian recipes!) that are packed with flavour and made with simple and easily accessible ingredients! Also, two trees (instead of 1!) will be planted for every download of my eBook through non-profit organisation One Tree Planted.🌲

Find out more about my reforestation initiatives here.

If you make this recipe, please tag me on my Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #thefoodietakesflight :) 

See the recipe video:

Crispy Taiwanese-Style Popcorn Mushrooms

Good for 2 people

Crispy pieces of mushrooms coated with some salt, pepper, and really fragrant chinese five spice. You only need 7 ingredients for this really tasty snack that you can munch on! It’s inspired by the Taiwanese popcorn chicken that are usually enjoyed in night markets or food stalls in Taiwan. Enjoy!


227g (1/2lb) fresh oyster mushrooms*

6 tbsp corn starch or potato starch

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice powder**

Neutral oil, for frying

For serving

Onion salt or more sea salt, for sprinkling after cooking

White pepper, for sprinkling after cooking (optional)

Handful of fresh thai or holy basil leaves, optional

Steps (see recipe video here)

  1. Break apart large pieces of the mushrooms.

  2. Afterwards, place the mushrooms in a large bowl. 

  3. Add in the corn or potato starch, salt, and chinese five spice, Mix together and toss to coat the mushrooms evenly.

  4. Heat a large pan and add in neutral oil, enough to submerge the mushrooms. Place over high heat. Once the oil is VERY hot, place in the coated mushrooms. They will bubble once you add them. Note that its important your oil is super hot because if added too soon when oil isn't sizzling hot yet, the mushrooms will absorb all the oil and get soggy. You may need to cook this in batches depending on the size of your pan.

  5. Leave the mushrooms to fry for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Move around to ensure that they’re browned throughout. Once they’re lightly brown throughout, remove the mushrooms from the oil, and place on a strainer or a place with some paper towels to drain the excess oil. Repeat this step for the remaining mushrooms.

  6. After cooking the mushrooms, add in the fresh basil leaves, if using. Leave to cook until the basil leaves have turned slightly translucent and crispy. Remove from the oil and place on a strainer or a place with some paper towels to drain the excess oil.

  7. Serve the mushrooms and basil. Sprinkle with some more salt and pepper, if desired. Enjoy while hot!


  1. Fresh mushrooms - don’t wet or wash the mushrooms. I usually only brush off any excess dirt from fresh mushrooms since they do act like sponges and absorb a lot of liquid. You can also use other fresh mushrooms like king oyster/trumpet mushrooms, shiitake

  2. Five spice powder - If you don’t have chinese 5 spice, feel free to sub with some white pepper and a pinch of cinnamon

  3. Cooked mushrooms - Make sure you don’t place the mushrooms in an enclosed container especially if they haven’t cooled down completely because they’ll turn soggy.

  4. Fresh basil - be careful when frying basil since they tend to splatter when placed in the oil. Also be sure your basil has no water droplets because they can splash even more when placed in the oil to fry.

#vegan #veganrecipe #easyrecipe  #plantbased #plantbasedrecipe #easyveganrecipe #easyrecipe #mushrooms #taiwanesefood #taiwan

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