Serious Eats: Recipes

Mayi Shang Shu (Pork with Mung Bean Threads)

I'm not sure if this has any significance at all, but this recipe has the distinction of being the very last recipe in Alton Brown's Good Eats 3: The Later Years, meaning it's also the last recipe in the TV show's long run. Interestingly, it's a take on a Sichuan dish called mayi shang shu, which apparently translates into English as "ants climbing in trees."

Don't worry, no actual ants are involved: the pork clings to the noodles like ants on a tree. Now you know. Since I have a little bit of an infatuation with Sichuan cuisine, I couldn't wait to try this out, even if it did have a funny name.

Instead of using chili bean paste, Brown calls for sambal, an ingredient that's much easier to find in most grocery stores. Though it misses the funk of the bean paste, it definitely works, even providing a bit more acidity to the each bite. I was a little scared to use mung bean threads, as I've had a few recipes with them fail on me. But Brown's detailed instructions helped walk me through the process. This is the kind of quick weeknight meal I'll be keeping in my repertoire.

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