comscore Ant eggs give omelet lots of ‘pop’ | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Crave | Should I Eat This?

Ant eggs give omelet lots of ‘pop’

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

    Red ant eggs are the key ingredient in this Thai omelet.


    Kai Mod Dang (ant eggs).

Don’t call Terminix.

In the frozen-food sections of some markets in Chinatown, you can find packages of something called kai mod deng. In the Thai and Lao languages, “kai” means egg, “mod” is ant and “deng” is red … red ant eggs.

Ant eggs are a common food in Laos and Thailand, especially in northern and northeastern Thailand, which is likely where the frozen ant eggs originate.

The packages sell for $7 or $8 for 8 ounces in stores that cater to Southeast Asian immigrants.

They are labeled fish food, “not for human consumption.” But no one feeds it to fish, says my friend Pou Perrotta, owner of Sala Thai Restaurant and Bar on Nuuanu Avenue.

It’s too hard to gather and too good to eat for that, Perrotta said.

The ants nest high in mango and other trees, and it’s inevitable to get bitten when gathering the eggs.

“The only fish that could eat it are in my stomach,” Perrotta laughs.

She made me kai jiao kai mod deng, a Thai ant egg omelet.

First the ant eggs are defrosted and washed, a process similar to washing rice. A few red ant bodies come along with the eggs.

Chicken eggs, fish sauce, pepper, fried garlic, green onions and the ant eggs are stirred together. The green onions help cut the smell of the ant eggs, Perrotta said.

The egg mix goes into a smoking-hot pan of vegetable oil and is cooked until the edges brown, then it’s flipped.

The omelet is served with sliced cucumbers and garnished with more green onions. A mixture of chilies, fish sauce and lime juice — called prik nam pla — is an optional sauce.

I take a bite. It mostly tastes like a crunchy omelet, crisp on the outside because it was cooked in hot oil.

The ant eggs add very little taste. But they do pop, like ikura (salmon eggs), when you bite into one. Eaten individually, the ant eggs have a slight fishy and nutty taste.

The prik nam pla is excellent with eggs, adding spicy, salty and sour notes.

Would I eat it again? Ant eggs are apparently high in protein, so I guess they are good for you. If the dish was served to me again, yes, I would eat it and enjoy it.

Web producer Craig Gima likes to try new foods. In a new video and print series called “Should I eat it?” Craig shares some of his more unusual food finds.

Comments (6)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

See the newest food hot spots! Sign up for the CRAVE email newsletter.

Scroll Up