Sichuan Mǎyǐshàngshù

Chinese Mǎyǐshàngshù

Mǎyǐshàngshù from the Chinese region Sichuan is a dish with a name that you will never forget. In its classic version, thin glass noodles, also called bean threads, soak up a sauce made with ground meat. The result looks like ants climbing on tree twigs. That's why 'Mǎyǐ shàng shù' translates to 'Ants on a tree'. We used easier to find thin spaghetti and optional healthy vegetables. Our spice blend with Shitake powder is full of umami.
Servings 3



  • 0.75 lb ground pork, poultry, or veal[1]

Fresh Produce

  • 5 green onions sliced

Packaged Goods/Staples

  • 3.5 oz very thin spaghetti aka capellini[2]
  • 2 cups rice
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • oil
  • salt & pepper

Mǎyǐshàngshù Culinary Spice Kit

  • cinnamon, fennel, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, black pepper, cloves, star anise


  • 4 oz vegetables of your choice[3] thinly sliced or cut into very small pieces


Rice & Noodles

  • Prepare rice and noodles according to package instructions.
  • Drain. Keep the cooking water from the noodles.


  • In a large PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Add meat and Mǎyǐshàngshù spices.
  • Mix and stir-fry until the meat is crumbled and cooked.
  • Add vegetables (optional), green onions, and 2 tbsp soy sauce.
  • Mix and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the noodles and 1 cup of their cooking water. Mix well.
  • Optionally, add to taste: soy sauce, salt & pepper, a bit more cooking water.


  • Serve Mǎyǐshàngshù sauce over rice.
  • Enjoy!


[1] Substitute meat with mushrooms, finely chopped.
[2] Substitute spaghetti with glass noodles and add them to the PAN uncooked.
[3] Recommended: mushrooms, zucchini, rutabaga, turnip, celery, bell pepper, broccoli florets, or green asparagus.
  • Make it again and substitute the spices with 1-2 tbsp Asian bean paste.