In my travels in Isan I found that moot daeng kai is considered quite a delicacy. Moot Daeng are fairly large red ants that live in the leaves of trees and also their bite is quite painful. This makes the process of collecting the ant eggs very interesting.
The locals place a net at the end of a long bamboo pole and walk through jungle looking for the moot daeng nests. The nests are scooped up from high in the trees and placed in a basket. The basket is full of ants, ant eggs and leaves of the trees. Once there is a healthy supply of ants and eggs in the basket they are placed in a bucket with water. To separate the ants from the eggs, the leaves and branches are pulled out of the mix, bringing a healthy amount of ants with them. Then a string is dangled in the water and the ants hold on to the string and are removed from the bucket. This takes a bit of effort and the person removing the ants are bitten and it hurts. But the effort is rewarded with a sizable amount of delicious ant eggs ready to be cooked in various ways.
I have two different dishes with moot daeng, Larb Moot Daeng and boiled and salted. Both were delicious!
Sharing delicious foods right here in Thailand!
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