Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Add wood ear mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes (*see footnote 2).
Turn off heat and transfer wood ears to a colander. Rinse with tap water and drain.
Combine light soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Stir well.
About 10 minutes before serving (*see footnote 3), add wood ear and all the bell peppers into a large bowl, pour in sauce, and top with coriander and smashed almonds.
Mix well and serve as an appetizer or a side.
(1) You can use dried wood ear mushrooms. For re-hydrating wood ears, soak dried wood ears in warm water for 1 hour or in cold water overnight. The texture of the wood ears will be better if re-hydrated in cold water for over 6 hours. Click here for more information on how to prepare wood ears.
(2) It always safer to slightly cook wood ears before serving. Although re-hydrated wood ears are edible, the sometimes contain dirt and could have been polluted during the dehydration process. Boiling will help sanitize the wood ears without changing their texture or flavor.
(3) Bell peppers will taste better after soaking in the sauce. However, if you mix in the sauce too early, the bell peppers will lose water and dilute the sauce.