Photo by Jason Hornick (for Express)

The sight of them may make your stomach churn, but ant eggs are a Thai delicacy. “I tasted them the first time I visited Thailand and was hooked,” says Alex McCoy, chef at Alfie’s (3301 Georgia Ave. NW). “Once you focus on the flavor, it ends up becoming a pleasurable experience.” The eggs have a caviarlike consistency (the skin pops when you bite into it, releasing a creamy liquid) and a citrusy taste with hints of lemon grass and ginger. McCoy serves them in salads and atop the kai jeow ($15). The egg omelet is a common side dish in Thailand. “Everyone there knows how to make a kai jeow, whether you’re in college or the CEO of a company.”

  • The pungent-smelling Thai herb called cha om is a key ingredient. Once cooked, it releases a rich umami flavor.
  • McCoy gets his ant eggs from a local Thai food distributor. “The flavor depends on where they come from, but it’s always lemony,” he says.
  • The omelet is served with Shark brand Sriracha, which is commonly used as a condiment in Thailand.
  • The base is made of  chicken eggs, soy sauce and fish sauce. It’s flash-cooked in oil before being drained.

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