Ibu Dati’s Mushroom Restaurant: Yogyakarta, Central Java

Ibu Dati’s Mushroom Restaurant, which specializes in mushroom-based dishes, is a haven for vegetarians. Mushrooms make the perfect meat substitute as they are nutritious and rich in minerals. Established in 2004 by Ibu Dati, 43, the restaurant is located on Jl. Kaliurang 14.5 Km, which, as its name indicates, is 14.5 kilometers outside Yogyakarta. Today Ibu Dati’s has outlets in the Jogja Expo Center (JEC) compound and in Condong Culinary Park, Catur, Sleman.

The restaurant offers 10 kinds of dishes made from mushrooms (tree-ear, oyster and “snow” mushrooms). The menu includes pepes jamur (spiced mushrooms wrapped in a banana leaf and roasted over hot coals), mushroom soup, tongseng jamur (a mushroom dish prepared with sauteed ingredients), tree-ear-mushroom kebabs, fried mushrooms, oyster-mushroom steak, mushroom fried rice, sauteed or stir-fried mushroom dishes, penyet jamur (crushed mushrooms), mushroom noodles and mushroom chop suey.

The restaurant only uses organic rice.

After their meal, diners can sip Lingzhie tea, which is made from Lingzhie mushroom extract.

“Lingzhie mushrooms are good for the health,” Ibu Dati said.
Lingzhie mushroom, she said, contain fat, protein, phosphorus and vitamins B1 and B2.

Lingzhie mushrooms also assist with the release of energy from the food that enters the body through an oxidation process that requires the active role of a mineral called Ge (Germanium). In Lingzhie mushrooms, GE takes the form of GeO (Gemanium Organic).

“In general, Lingzhie is useful to prevent cancer and boost the metabolism. It also improves the stamina and the function of the heart,” Ibu Dati said.

Ibu Dati said the Chinese and Japanese had long praised the dietary and therapeutic effects of mushrooms.

There are, for example, 45.6 calories, 8.8 mg of calcium, 1.9 mg of iron, 0.15 mg of Vitamin B1 and 12.40 mg of Vitamin C in every 100 grams of oyster mushrooms. This particular mushroom also contains polysaccharide and Beta-D-Glucans, which can lower cholesterol.

Mushrooms also contain more nutrients than chicken, which contains 18.2 grams of protein and 25.0 grams of fat but has neither carbohydrate nor Vitamin C content. Fiber makes up 7.4-24.6 percent of mushrooms, which is the reason why they are good for the digestion.

“Mushrooms, particularly tree-ear mushrooms, can also neutralize cholesterol. If we fry this mushroom, the cholesterol in the cooking oil will automatically be neutralized,” Ibu Dati said.

Ibu Dati cited a study conducted by Bobel (1999) of the Research Institute of Nutrition of Bratislava on natural products with hypolipemic and anti-oxidant effects that showed eating mushrooms helped lower cholesterol and kept the heart healthy.

The research was conducted for one month and involved middle-aged people suffering from hyperlipoproteinemia. For one whole month, they regularly ate 10 grams of oyster mushrooms.
The result was that their cholesterol level went down by 12.6 percent and their triglycerol level dropped by 27.2 percent.

Ibu Dati also said that in general, protein made up 19-35 percent of mushrooms. By comparison, protein makes up only 7.38 percent and 13.2 percent respectively of rice and wheat. Of the 20 amino acids known to date, nine essential amino acids are found in mushrooms.

And how about the prices at Ibu Dati’s Mushroom Restaurant?
The cheapest item on the menu is pepes jamur at Rp 3,000 per helping. The most expensive is portabello-mushroom steak, which costs Rp 9,000 per helping.

“The kebabs are sweet and delicious as the mushrooms have been marinated first. The texture is a bit rubbery though,” said Himawan, one of the restaurant’s customers.

The mushroom soup is also delicious. Sold at Rp 3,500 per helping, this fresh mushroom soup contains oyster, tree-ear and snow mushrooms.

Fried mushrooms are often ordered as a starter. Fried in a flour mixture, the mushrooms are white in color and have a texture like chicken. They are priced at Rp 4,000 per serving.

“It’s more delicious than chicken and you don’t have to worry about avian flu,” Himawan added.

A father of one, Himawan said that although mushroom dishes were wholesome and delicious, mushrooms were yet to be popular in the community as many people thought they were toxic and dirty.

Ibu Dati agreed that many people were ill-informed about mushrooms. That is why she regularly promotes mushrooms at strategic places.

“Sometimes I organize a cooking demo in a mall. Those who try the dish agree that it is delicious and not until then do they realize that the dish is made from mushrooms,” she said.

Mushroom-based meals are also good for families on a tight budget as they can be used in place of more expensive ingredients

“It makes economic sense. If we used mushrooms we wouldn’t have to import beef. In addition, mushrooms are very easy to cultivate in Indonesia,” Ibu Dati said.

Slamet Suseno