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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Says She Ate Psychedelic Mushrooms During China Visit: ‘I Learned That Later’

Yellen told CNN that while dining out on her trip, she tried a "delicious" mushroom dish that someone ordered for the table — only to find out that the mushrooms had "hallucinogenic properties"

<p>Chip Somodevilla/Getty</p> U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she ate psychedelic mushrooms during her July trip to China.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she ate psychedelic mushrooms during her July trip to China.

Janet Yellen had a mind-blowing meal during her trip to China last month.

Appearing on CNN's OutFront Monday, the United States treasury secretary, 77, told host Erin Burnett that she dined at a restaurant in Beijing called Yi Zuo Yi Wang (or In and Out — no relation to the burger chain) and was served a dish featuring mushrooms known for their psychedelic effects.

“So I went with this large group of people, and the person who had arranged our dinner did the ordering,” recounted Yellen, who was visiting Beijing as part of an effort to improve U.S.-China relations. “There was this delicious mushroom dish. I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties.”

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"I learned that later," she added with a laugh.

<p>Mark Schiefelbein - Pool/Getty</p> U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng during a trip to Beijing in July.

Mark Schiefelbein - Pool/Getty

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng during a trip to Beijing in July.

Smoothly sidestepping Burnett's pressing for more details about the effects she experienced that night, Yellen explained, “I read that if the mushrooms are cooked properly, which I’m sure they were at this very good restaurant, that they have no impact."

From the sounds of it, Yellen has no regrets about her dining experience. “All of us enjoyed the mushrooms, the restaurant, and none of us felt any ill effects from having eaten them," she said.

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Yellen’s magic mushroom meal — which garnered attention on social media — was first reported by a food blogger who spotted Yellen at the restaurant. In and Out later posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo that it was an “extremely magical day” and that Yellen “loved mushrooms very much.”

Burnett noted that magic mushroom dishes are now selling out across China, thanks to the economist. "You have sparked all this," she told Yellen.

Yellen made history by becoming the first woman to serve as treasury secretary. She was confirmed in January 2021 in a bipartisan Senate vote. She previously served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton and as chair of the Federal Reserve, a role for which she was nominated by then-President Barack Obama.

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