If you read the title and thought I was cooking ants, I'm not :')
This Chinese dish is literally called 蚂蚁上树, hence the direct translation. It's essentially a stir fried vermicelli dish with minced pork as the main ingredient! Super simple but so so satisfying!
I first tried this dish at 东方美食, a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. It's very near from one of the Chinatown MRT exits, near the row of bak kwa shops! You can't possibly miss the big red signboard along the main road! I still remember the first time my in laws brought me there, I only just started dating Ahlao for a few months! How time flies haha. At this point, I think I've visited 东方美食 close to 10 times already.
When I'm there, I always order this vermicelli dish cos it's so gud!!! The Chinese cook this with a lot of oil, so it's definitely a sinful dish but IMO worth the indulgence haha.
So a couple months back, my MIL went to China for work (before you gasp, please don't worry, that was literally in October 2019) and brought back some local snacks and dried food for us. This packet of vermicelli has been sitting in my kitchen drawer for forever, until last night Ahlao found it when we raided our own kitchen for a late-night snack HAHA.
I have no idea what it says on the packet but I thought the noods looked like the kind of sweet potato/tapioca starch based vermicelli so I decided to try cooking them for lunch today!
It's my first time attempting to recreate this Chinese dish and I didn't have a recipe to work with. I actually did google a recipe online but they all had chilli oil, ginger and mostly things I hate lol. So I omitted them and just cooked it based on my memory of the taste I had at 东方美食 lol.
I didn't take exact measurements of everything cos I believe cooking is really by feel. And personal preference matters a lot so feel free to season accordingly! Sharing my version of the recipe below, but you can always google the dish name for a more accurate and authentic one! ;)
Dark soy sauce
Handful of chopped spring onions
Heaping tablespoon of minced garlic (I use ready ones that come in a jar)
A bunch of dried vermicelli (form an O with your index finger and thumb - that's how much I roughly used for one portion!)
My MIL brought the vermicelli back from China so I am not sure where you can find this in Singapore! But I believe they should have it at supermarkets! Just make sure to get the starchy, chewy ones, not the local tanghoon!
Season minced pork with sugar, salt, sesame oil, and white pepper. Add seasoning according to your own preference. I didn’t measure.
Boil vermicelli for 5-7 minutes to your preferred doneness, drain and set aside. I added some sesame oil into the pot while boiling them so the strands wouldn't stick together so much even after I drain them.
Heat up about 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry minced garlic until fragrant. I add a lotttt of garlic so it smells freaking good!
Add in seasoned minced pork & break meat down into small bits. Fry until half cooked, then add oyster sauce, dark soy sauce (more for colour), and white pepper. Again, add according to your own preference as I didn’t measure.
When the pork is about 80% cooked, add in the boiled vermicelli, chopped spring onions, and a final dash of sesame oil & continue frying for another couple of minutes, until everything is evenly mixed. If you find the dish too dry or sticky, add some water, 1 tbsp at a time.
At this point the pork should be cooked, so you may taste and then season accordingly. Serve piping hot!
Look how gud that is!! I wish you could smell it. The combination of sesame oil and garlic is just divine. In the restaurant, it's usually more noods than pork but I added more meat here for protein.
This was such a satisfying and easy meal to cook, even for one person! I think the next time I cook this for Ahlao, I'm going to try adding sliced onions, cabbage and eggs too!
Food photos shot with my Canon EOS M200, using prime lens.
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