Ants Climbing a Tree

I made this Chinese noodle dish for a party and want to save my version of the recipe so I can make it again. The key to the whole thing is finely chopping all of the ingredients so that the “ants” can climb the tree of the noodles. The flavor is spicy from the mustard leaf and mustard oil, and very garlicky.

Ants Climbing a Tree

Makes 2 servings


80-90 g dried mung bean noodles (2 bunches)
15 g fresh ginger
30 g fresh garlic
65 g pickled mustard leaf (高菜しょうゆつけ)
90 g ground pork
2 Tb oil (I used a mix of vegetable and mustard oil. roasted rapeseed is traditional)
1/2 Tb Chinese light soy sauce
1 Tb Chinese wine
1 Tb dobanjan
1.5 c water (or stock)
Seasonings: Sichuan pepper, sesame oil, chopped scallion


  1. Soak the mung bean noodles for 20-30 minutes in cold water
  2. Very finely mince the garlic and ginger
  3. In a large frying pan, dry sear the mustard pickle. Remove from pan and chop fine.
  4. Brown the pork in half the oil (1 Tb), add soy sauce and wine.
  5. Reduce the liquid until almost dry. Remove meat from pan and chop fine.
  6. Add remaining oil to pan; fry the ginger and garlic.
  7. Add the pork and minced pickle back into the pan.
  8. Stir in the dobanjan.
  9. Add the noodles and enough water to cover the noodles (~1.5 cups)
  10. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes to cook the noodles
  11. Uncover the pan and reduce the liquid to a sauce.
  12. Season/garnish as desired with Sichuan pepper, sesame oil, and chopped scallion.

This holds remarkably well as leftovers, as shown in the photo. It was so good, I forgot to get a picture of it hot out of the pan on the first night.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.