Ants Climbing a Tree

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As a busy woman, you’re always looking for new and exciting recipes to try out, and today we have a special treat for you: Ants Climbing a Tree, a delicious, spicy, and satisfying Chinese dish that’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. With its blend of flavors and textures, it’s no wonder this dish has become a beloved favorite in Sichuan cuisine.

Despite its intriguing name, Ants Climbing a Tree actually refers to the way the ground meat clings to the noodles, resembling ants on twigs. The dish features a unique combination of glass noodles, ground pork or beef, and a spicy sauce made from soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and spicy bean paste. It’s an easy, one-pan meal that packs a punch of flavor!

Before diving into cooking Ants Climbing a Tree, let’s talk about the star ingredient: glass noodles. These translucent noodles, also known as cellophane or bean thread noodles, are made from mung bean or potato starch, making them gluten-free and delightfully chewy. You can find them at your local Asian grocery store or online.

To prepare the noodles, simply soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes until they soften, then drain and set aside. This quick and easy process will help you get dinner on the table in no time!

Now, let’s talk about the spicy sauce that brings this dish to life. The key to the perfect Ants Climbing a Tree sauce is balancing the flavors of salty, spicy, and umami. Be sure to use a good-quality soy sauce and spicy bean paste, as they are the backbone of this dish’s flavor profile. You can adjust the spice level to your liking, making it perfect for those who love a little heat or prefer a milder taste.

With your noodles and sauce ready, it’s time to brown the meat. You can use either ground pork or beef, depending on your preference. Cook the meat in a hot pan until it’s well-browned and crispy, then set it aside. This will ensure that the meat stays tender and juicy, while also adding depth to the overall flavor of the dish.

Finally, it’s time to bring everything together. In the same pan you used for the meat, cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Then, add the spicy bean paste and soy sauce, followed by the noodles and cooked meat. Give everything a good toss to ensure the noodles are well-coated in the sauce, and you’re ready to serve!

Ants Climbing a Tree is perfect for a quick, satisfying meal that’s full of flavor and easy to prepare. Not only is it a great introduction to Sichuan cuisine, but it’s also an excellent way to mix up your weeknight dinner routine. So, grab your chopsticks and enjoy this delightful, spicy dish that’s sure to impress!

Ants Climbing a Tree

Course: Main CourseCuisine: Chinese


Prep time


Cooking time





A flavorful and satisfying Chinese dish that’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.


  • 4 oz glass noodles

  • 1/2 lb ground pork or beef

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp spicy bean paste

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 2 green onions, sliced


  • Soak glass noodles in hot water for 10 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet or wok, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add ground pork or beef to the skillet and cook, breaking it into small pieces, until browned and cooked through.
  • Stir in soy sauce, spicy bean paste, and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Add the soaked glass noodles to the skillet, stirring to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the noodles have absorbed the sauce and are tender.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the sliced green onions.
  • Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with additional green onions, if desired.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


  • You can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less spicy bean paste.
  • This dish can also be made with ground chicken or turkey for a leaner option.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ants Climbing a Tree pairs well with a variety of dishes to create a complete meal. Enjoy it with a refreshing cucumber salad or a plate of steamed greens like bok choy, drizzled with a touch of sesame oil. For a heartier meal, serve alongside a bowl of hot and sour soup or egg drop soup. And don’t forget to add a side of steamed white or brown rice to soak up all the delicious flavors!

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

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