These are sold fresh and dried and are native to Japan although they are used in many Asian cuisines. Shiitake mushrooms have a woodsy, meaty flavour which is intensified when they are dried. They need to be rehydrated in water before use. In Japan they are served in miso soups and many steamed and simmered dishes. In China they are sauteed and in Thailand steamed and fried. The tough stems are rarely used.