Sauteed vermicelli with spicy minced pork recipe
Sichuan cuisine Video

Ants on a tree dish

What is the Chinese dish ants on the tree?

When you walk into a Chinese restaurant, there is a dish on the menu called “Ants on a tree” or “ants climbing a tree”, don’t be surprised, it does not contain any ants, it is a super tasty Sichuan dish consisting of vermicelli in a delicious sauce with ground pork. You also can call this dish “Sauteed vermicelli with spicy minced pork”.

“Ants on a tree” is a traditional Sichuan dish, the main ingredients are vermicelli and minced pork. This dish is bright red in color, smooth and delicious. The minced meat is pasted on the vermicelli, which looks like ants crawling on the branches, that’s where the name of the dish comes from, the ants are minced meat, the tree is vermicelli, and the taste is salty and fragrant.

Why is it called Ants Climbing a Tree?

Chinese culinary art has gone through thousands of years of refinement and development, this dish is related to a famous person in history, this is Dou E!

Guan Hanqing’s Dou E’s Injustice tells the story of Dou E. Her husband died, her mother-in-law was sick so she had to care for her day and night. Her family is very poor, because she spent all her money on medical treatment for her mother-in-law.

One day, Dou E still wanted to cook delicious dishes for her mother-in-law– hoping this would help in her recovery. She did not have enough money to buy pork but only for a small piece. When Dou E got home,Dou E minced the small piece of pork and stir fried with Chinese vermicelli. The mother-in-law was very satisfied after eating it, because mother-in-law is old and has bad eyesight, so she mistook the minced meat for ants, so it was named “ants climbing the tree”.

Nowadays, it has become quite popular in Chinese restaurants.

In this post I show you how to make restaurant style “Ants on a tree” that’s really addictive,flavorful and super delicious.

Sauteed vermicelli with spicy minced pork video


Ants climbing a tree ingredients:

The basic ingredients are  mung bean vermicelli noodle and minced pork.

minced pork               200g vermicelli          300g
light soy sauce           220ml Soy Bean paste    15g
green onion                     5g ginger                     8g
garlic                                8g salt                          1g

Sauteed vermicelli with spicy minced pork Recipe

Step 1

Soak vermicelli noodles until soft and pliable. Use kitchen shears to cut the noodles into 3 to 4-inch pieces and drain thoroughly in a colander for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Heat wok, Pour in 1 tbsp. peanut oil, then add in minced ginger, minced garlic.

Step 3

Add in minced pork, Cook it until you can see a little bit pork fat render out from the meat.

Step 4

Add salt, light soy sauce, Soy Bean paste.

Step 5

Add water and stir-fry over low heat until fragrant.

Step 6

Add in vermicelli.

Step 7

Stir the vermicelli and minced meat with chopsticks.

Step 8

When most of the water is absorbed by the noodles, transfer the vermicelli to a bowl.

Step 9

Sprinkle chopped green onion.


It’s done. This dish is as easy to make as it is delicious.

Ants on a tree Tips:

1.Choose fresh pork. Pork is best chopped with a knife, not with a meat grinder.

2.The minced pork is marinated in advance, which can add more flavor. The use of starch can make the meat more tender, and the cooking wine has a good effect of removing fishy smell.

3.You may replace the ground pork with ground beef if you prefer.

4.If you want to adjust the salt intake, you can use low-sodium soy sauce instead of light soy sauce.

What is vermicelli?

Also called long rice or cellophane noodles. Chinese name is“fun see”, These are dry, thin, white noodles made from ground mung peas. They puff up immediately when dropped in hot oil. They must be soaked first, however, for all other types of cooking. When cooked, the nodles become transparent: thus, cellophane noodles.

What type of vermicelli noodles to use?

In this recipe, we used Mung Bean Vermicelli Noodles, you can also use Sweet Potato Vermicelli instead.

Sweet Potato Vermicelli

Do I need to soak vermicelli before cooking?

Yes, soak the vermicelli in water for 10 minutes and then drain. It’s better to soak vermicelli in warm water.

What kind of pan to use?

I use a nonstick wok because vermicelli noodles are very starchy and can easily stick to the pan, you can also use a carbon steel wok. For more info about Chinese wok, you can check this post: All You Need to Know About Chinese Wok

Best vermicelli recipe

With these 4 vermicelli noodles recipes, you’ll be able to enjoy vermicelli anytime!

1) Steamed Baby Cabbage and Vermicelli Topped with Mashed Garlic

It is a healthy dish that requires almost no cooking skills, the ingredients are: baby cabbage, vermicelli, garlic, red pepper, shallot, light soy sauce, sugar, chicken essence, broth, salad oil.

Baby cabbage is rich in carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, phosphorus, iron and other trace elements.

Steamed Baby Cabbage and Vermicelli Topped with Mashed Garlic


2) Sauteed vermicelli with Chinese Cabbage and egg

A must-order dish when you go to a restaurant! !

The method is very simple! Refreshing vermicelli mixed with refreshing cabbage, not greasy at all, really delicious.

Sauteed vermicelli with Chinese Cabbage and egg

3) Vermicelli on Sizzling Iron Plate


Vermicelli on Sizzling Iron Plate


4) Cold vermicelli

It is one of the common dish in Guangdong. The raw materials are Vermicelli, cucumber, egg, ham sausage, crushed peanuts, pickles, soy sauce etc.

Cold vermicelli

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