Red ant & ant egg salad

Red ant & ant egg salad

Koi khai mot dang

Street Food Asia
4–6 As part o f a shared me al
Alan Benson

This is another classic Isaan dish, and also one with a heavy Laotian influence; the spicy, earthy seasonings are very northern Thai in character. Ants are actually really good to eat and if you’ve never been game to try them, I urge you to give them a go. As the name of this recipe suggests, you include their eggs as well as the live ants. These red ants live in trees, feed off mango leaves and as you eat them, they sort of explode in your mouth and leave a sour, fragrant, citrusy taste that’s particularly unique. The eggs are soft and a little more elegant to eat, with a gorgeous, gooey texture that’s hard to describe. Both ants and eggs are a great source of protein, so they’re good for you as well as tasting amazing. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on in this salad! You’ve got lemongrass, red onion and the soft pop of the eggs. Toasted rice powder, a hallmark of Isaan salads, is essential for achieving the right texture here; it’s pleasantly gritty and tastes a bit biscuity.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons red ant eggs
1 tablespoons live red ants, (optional)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 large red onion, finely sliced
2 lemongrass stems, finely sliced, white part only
1 small handful coriander leaves, sliced
10 mint leaves, sliced
10 vietnamese mint leaves, sliced
3 saw-tooth coriander leaves, sliced, (see glossary)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon Toasted rice powder
1 lime, juiced
10 small chinese cabbage leaves


  1. Combine all the salad ingredients, except the cabbage leaves, in a mixing bowl. Toss together well, then transfer to a serving platter.
  2. Serve the cabbage leaves with the salad and use them as ‘spoons’ to eat the salad with.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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