Wood ear mushroom refers to tree ear fungus. It’s sometimes marketed as wood ear mushrooms, or black fungus. Wood ear has a very mild flavor; it’s mostly revered for the crunchy texture that is excellent for putting in a hot and sour soup, siu mai, water dumplings, and some stir-fry dishes. Wood ears are always sold dried in packages, and need to be reconstituted with hot water
before use. Commercially, they are available whole or shredded. I always get the whole ones because they can be easily reconstituted with water and cut into thin strips or the shape called for in the recipes.