Ants Climbing A Tree

Ants Climbing A Tree

Since I've been doing experiments with Chinese cuisine, we've already discovered several favourite dishes which I cook as often as the traditional local ones. The 'ants climbing a tree' is very much appreciated by our family but I also like challenging my guests with it. This dish has a funny colour at first, because of the soy sauce and the Chinese noodles, but after you taste it, you will be impressed. I didn't dare to cook it at home before trying it in a Chinese fast food restaurant first. I liked the combination and I recreated it at home.

I can definitely tell you that homemade 'ants climbing a tree' have a much better and complex taste than the restaurant ones. My husband was one of the first to notice and appreciate this difference. The ingredients are not fancy and can be found in large supermarkets. Still, I recommend buying them straight from the Chinese stores, it's even easier to get them online.

The version shown below is one which is eaten by the kids as well, as it's not too hot. You can slightly adjust the degree of spiciness using the Chinese Flavoured Oil. We really enjoy it and we always have it at hand.


Minced pork meat
500 g
Dried wood ear mushrooms
50 g
200 g
glass noodles - made from rice or mung beans (see the picture in the steps below)
Green onions
2 pieces
2 scallions
1 tsp
Dark soy sauce
1 tbsp
Cooking rice wine
1 tbsp
it's not rice vinegar!
1 tbsp
Sesame oil
2 tbsp
Peanut oil
50 ml
or other oil used for frying
Fresh shredded ginger
1 tsp
Garlic cloves
2 pieces
and a chili pepper, if you want it hot
Light soy sauce
3 tbsp
Sesame seeds
1 tsp
plus aromatic Chinese oil, find the recipe on my website

Step by step


First of all, I recommend marinating the meat for 'ants climbing a tree'.

Place the ground pork in a bowl and add to it: 

- 1 tsp salt

- 1 tbsp Dark soy sauce (the most viscous and dense type)

- 1 tbsp rice wine

- 1 tbsp sesame oil

- 1 tbsp starch

Using your hands, combine all these ingredients, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or a few hours to marinate.


Soak the dried Wood Ear mushrooms in water for 30-60 minutes. The time depends on the brand of the mushrooms.

Place mushrooms in a bowl and pour over cold water to cover them completely.


You'll see they are well soaked when they are considerably bigger and elastic.

At this point I recommend washing under cold running water, then cutting the wooden bottom. Some come without the wooden bottom, so you might not need to do this.


I've tested several noodle brands for this recipe over the time, the one in the picture works best for me and I can find it in stores.


They don't need special preparation, just pour hot water over the noodles and let sit for a few minutes.

If you are using different noodles, just follow the instructions on the package.


Then drain the water and add 1 tbsp sesame oil, mix.

You can also cut the noodles with kitchen shears. I don't always do this, though, because it's easier to use the chopsticks when the noodles are longer.


Now it's time to prepare the veggies.

First, chop the scallions and separate the green part (which will be used only for decoration) from the white part (which we will cook).


Grate the ginger root, crush the garlic with a press.

Here you can see the chopped scallions (the white part), the crushed garlic and the grated ginger.


Now we are actually starting to cook 'ants climbing a tree'.

Heat the peanut oil in a pan, add the chopped scallions and cook until slightly brown.

Stir in the crushed garlic, ginger and, optionally, some minced chili pepper. Mix well and cook for 10 more seconds.


Add the marinated minced pork to the pan and mix frequently until it's cooked through.


When meat is cooked through, place the mushrooms we prepared in advance, stir everything together and cook for 5 more minutes.


Add the glass noodles and a few tbsp of soy sauce, classic or Light, mix well.

Cook for another 5-10 minutes, adjust the taste with salt or soy sauce.


Serve warm, decorated with green scallions, sesame and a little aromatic Chinese oil (find the recipe on my website).

Reheated is tasty as well, so you can cook more and be able to savour it the next day.


Quantity: 1500 g (8-10 servings)
Prep time: 30 min
Difficulty: intermediate
Ready in: 120 min
Publish date:

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