Skip to Content

Janet Yellen explains her ‘magic mushroom’ experience in China


By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

New York (CNN) — US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen ate a “magic mushroom” on a recent trip to Beijing, but the aftereffects don’t sound that special.

CNN’s Erin Burnett spoke to her Monday, asking about the “mushroom experience” that set off a social media frenzy and dramatically boosted business for a Yunnan restaurant chain, where Yellen ate the local jian shou qing.

“There was a delicious mushroom dish. I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties. I learned that later,” Yellen said about the group dinner that clarified that she didn’t organize nor did she do the ordering.

She didn’t have any strange visions, the “Erin Burnett OutFront” anchor joked. Yellen then said that she had “read that if the mushrooms are cooked properly, which I’m sure they were at this very good restaurant, that they have no impact.”

“But all of us enjoyed the mushrooms, the restaurant, and none of us felt any ill effects from having eaten them,” Yellen said.

Yellen’s July trip to the Yunnan restaurant chain, called Yi Zuo Yi Wang (In and Out), garnered attention for the highly sought-after mushroom prized for its unique properties.

But contrary to the eatery’s name in English, there are no burgers here. Rather, the chain specializes in Yunnan food, a popular regional cuisine from part of southwestern China that borders Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

Jian shou qing, which translates literally as “see hand blue,” gets its Chinese name from one of its defining characteristics – the inner surface of the mushroom bruises and turns blue when you apply pressure on it, including during the slicing process. They are considered poisonous because they potentially can cause hallucinations.

In addition to the mushrooms, a local food blogger said that they spotted Yellen’s group eating other local fare, grilled fish with herbs, stir-fried pickled Yunnan wild greens with potato slices and cold rice noodles.

The hashtag “US Treasury Secretary Yellen’s first meal in Beijing is Yunannese” became a trending topic on social media, with related posts racking up six million views.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Maggie Hiufu Wong contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

Jump to comments ↓



KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content