Ma Yi Shang Shu

Glass noodles in a beautiful sauce with minced pork make up the classic Sichuan dish of Ants Climbing a Tree (ma yi shang shu). You can tell the person who named it that way was an impressionist with a sense of humor because of the dish’s odd moniker.

Some viewed the glass noodles as tree branches, the chopped green vegetables as scallion, and the tiny pieces of beef as ants. While the visual isn’t what I was hoping for, this dish nonetheless makes me glad. How easy it is to make and eat will blow your mind.

While preparing Ants Climbing a Tree, it is essential to remember that glass noodles absorb a lot of the sauce very rapidly. You can increase the amount of chicken stock by up to one cup if you like your sauce richer. Restaurants like to serve this dish saucy, but I prefer it “dry,” meaning the noodles have absorbed most of the sauce but still have a tiny crunch. Please feel free to increase the amount of stock to your liking!

You may not have known that Sichuan cuisine (also known as Szechuan cuisine) is very hot if you’re new to our site.


  • 1 tbsp. of oil
  • 1 tbsp. of ginger (finely minced)
  • 1 tbsp. of spicy fermented bean sauce/paste
  • 4 oz. of ground pork (110g; can substitute ground chicken)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock (475 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp. of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. of light soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of scallion (chopped)


  1. For 10 minutes, soak the noodles in cold water. Rinse, drain, and put away. Heat the oil and ginger to a wok set over medium heat. Stir in the hot bean sauce after cooking the ginger for a few seconds.
  2. Once that has finished cooking, add the ground pork and continue to cook for an additional minute (or chicken). Cook the beef in a stir-fry until it is thoroughly done.
  3. Soy sauces (dark and light) should be combined with the chicken broth and sugar. Begin by heating up a saucepan of water to boiling point. Add the scallions and glass noodles to the bank and bring to a boil. 1-2 minutes of vigorous mixing is all that’s required. Serve with steaming rice or as a side dish!

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