Ants Climbing a Tree: Glass Noodles with Pork

A funny named dish with a delicious sauce, ground pork and noodles to soak it all up.
By The Woks of Life


Ants Climbing a Tree (ma yi shang shu) is a classic Sichuan dish consisting of glass noodles in a delicious sauce with ground pork. It has a weird and not-all-that-appetizing name, and the person who gave the dish that name was definitely an impressionist with a sense of humor.

They saw the glass noodles as tree branches, the chopped scallion as tree leaves, and the little bits of ground meat as the ants. I’m not sure I see the same image, but I’m grateful for this dish. It’s so easy to make, and it tastes absolutely fantastic.

One thing to remember when cooking Ants Climbing a Tree is that the glass noodles will soak up the sauce very quickly. If you like having more sauce, you can increase the amount of chicken stock by up to 1 cup. The dish is usually pretty saucy at restaurants, but I personally like it a little bit “dry,” wherein the noodles have soaked up most of the sauce, and they maintain a slightly chewy texture. Feel free to increase the amount of stock according to your own preferences!

Serve alone, or with steamed rice!

Seriously. It is so easy.


Find more interesting noodle dishes here.

Ants Climbing a Tree: Glass Noodles with Pork
A funny named dish with a delicious sauce, ground pork and noodles to soak it all up.
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Sichuan
Serves: 2 servings
  • 4 oz. dry vermicelli/glass noodles
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon spicy fermented bean sauce/paste
  • 4 oz. ground pork (or chicken)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion
  1. Soak the dry noodles in cold water for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain and set aside. In a wok over medium heat, add the oil and minced ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute, and add the spicy bean sauce. Let that cook for another minute, and then add the ground pork (or chicken). Stir-fry until the meat is cooked through.
  2. Add the chicken stock, sugar, dark soy sauce, and light soy sauce. Bring everything to boil. Once boiling, add the glass noodles and scallions. Quickly stir everything together for 1-2 minutes. Serve alone, or with steamed rice!


Woks of Life

The Woks of Life is a blog written by a family of four living between the U.S. & China. When not packing or unpacking suitcases, they're sharing their travels and culinary exploits--from traditional Chinese to modern dishes for the everyday cook. For all the generation X's and Y's out there who love the Chinese food their parents made, but have no idea how to make it, this family's got your back!

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