A Taiwanese Special – Chinese Chives w. “Flies Head” (韭菜花炒蒼蠅頭)

by Yi on May 13, 2011 · 27 comments

Post image for A Taiwanese Special – Chinese Chives w. “Flies Head” (韭菜花炒蒼蠅頭)

Besides still being sick, the past 48 hours have been so much fun kitten sitting two little fluffy guests, Midnight and Oreo. These 8-week old curious big-eyed kittens are so cute that we have spent a lot our free time to play with them. Nothing is more wonderful to have these natural wrestlers, carpet-scratchers, desk-climbers, and frequent sleepers around to keep us accompanied (see Midnight and Oreo in action).

A few weeks ago I was craving for some Taiwanese food so Alice and I went to one of my favorite Taiwanese restaurants in Queens, New York. Like most of the Taiwanese restaurants in the area, this one serves up some very authentic fares out of their small cozy dining room.  After getting seated with two other couples at a big round table, we ordered a few signature dishes here including oyster pancake, three-cup chicken, and our favorite Chinese chive with “flies head”, an original house special of theirs (number 23 in the menu screenshot).

That’s right! The dish is called Chinese chive with “flies head”. But there is no real fly or other insects in there. A more straight forward name should be something like Minced Pork with Chinese Chives and Black Bean In Taiwan-Style. The “heads” are in reference to the Chinese black beans used in the dish. This is the dish I get every single time I eat there and it is still growing on me. What make this dish outstanding aside from having an unusual name are its mouth-drooling fragrant, crispy juicy texture, and unbelievably savory taste.

After a few experiments at home, I have come up with a recipe that is very close to the restaurant version.  This is a simple stir-fry dish but it’s hard to make it like in the restaurant because the home stove is a low heat. Follow the below step-by-step instructions to see how you can work around this barrier.

Chinese Chives w. “Flies Head”- Ingredients

1 lb Minced pork

2 tbsp Chinese black bean

5 oz Chinese chives, preferably the ones with flowers

2 tbsp Fresh Thai chili, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp Soy sauce + 2 tbsp

2 tbsp Cooking wine

1 tsp Sugar

1/3 tsp Sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 slice Ginger, minced

1 Scallion, minced

Chinese Chives w. “Flies Head” – Step By Step

1. Soak the black beans 2 tbsp of water for 5 minutes. Raise and drain.

2. Chop the Chinese chives into tiny pieces. Marinate the pork with 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of cooking wine.

3. Pre-cook the pork. This is a key step to determine if you can achieve that restaurant quality at home.  You will need a cookware that can heat up to high temperature and has good heat retention. I use a cast iron wok.

Over high heat, heat up the wok until you see continuous smoke. Add 1 tbsp of oil and add 1/3 of minced pork. Quickly spread out the pork to ensure you get a quick and nice sear to lock in the juice, about 1.5 minutes. Set the pork aside and repeat this for the rest of the pork. If you see a good amount of liquid coming out of your pork that means your cookware is not hot enough.

Alternative you can deep fry the pork over low-medium heat. I suspect that’s what the restaurants do.

4. Over high heat, stir fry the black bean, minced garlic and ginger in 1 tbsp of oil.

5. Add pre-cooked pork and chopped chives. Mix rest of soy sauce, cooking wine, and sugar. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add salt if necessary. Add a few drops of sesame oil at the end. Before serving sprinkle some chopped scallion.


What’s your favorite Taiwanese dish(es)?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Min werkheiser April 7, 2014 at 10:43 am

Do you eat the flowers too. The chives doesn’t seem to have a taste? I guess I’m use to the korean shives which is really strong.

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2 Yi April 8, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Hi, yeah these chives are not as strong as the regular chives used in making dumplings. However they taste fantastic when stir-fried :)

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3 meimei March 14, 2014 at 1:51 am

I had this dish in Taiwan, tucked into little fried dough pockets. Oh, so delicious! Thank you for printing the recipe.

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4 Ernie June 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Thanks for the great recipe. I’ve been eating this dish for years in Flushing, New York at a great Taiwanese restaurant and for some reason have never tried to cook it, even though I have done many other authentic chinese dishes. The real test was when my chinese fiance tasted it and gave me the thumbs up! Thanks again.

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5 Yi June 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Hello Ernie, thanks for your feedback. I am glad to hear that it turned out successful! I also first had this at a Taiwanese restaurant near Flushing and I really enjoyed it. Thanks again for checking out my recipes!

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6 Shalini February 12, 2012 at 12:14 am

I was looking for recipe for chives and I tried out this recipe. Used luncheon meat, ginger wine and fermented black beans for that’s what I had. Went easy with soy sauce and didn’t add salt. Was yummy. Am having this with plain porridge next week. Thanks.

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7 Yi February 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Good call on porridge. I never ate it with it but I can imagine this dish being a porridge killer lol

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8 TPE Fan January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for the recipe Yi – the best version of this I ever tasted was at KiKi’s in Taipei.

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9 Yi January 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Hi TPF Fan. Lucky you had a chance to try the version in Taipei. I have not yet travelled to Taiwan…but one day I’ll be there!

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10 Health Bee December 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

This dish looks so delicious! I can’t wait to try out this recipe this weekend! :-)

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11 Yi December 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm

please let me know how it turns out!

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12 Joe1000 November 25, 2011 at 8:56 am

This sounds great and I will definitely try it soon

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13 Yi November 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Hi Joe, this is one of my favorite dishes from this local Taiwanese restaurant I go to. Hope you will like it!

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14 chubbychinesegirl October 6, 2011 at 9:31 am

I copied the recipe!!! love it… u r an awesome cook!!! so jealous
im pretty sure with my stove it wont be exactly like the resto, but i’ll give it a shot

P.S. I did an interview with Daily News about Main St. Imperial (was there last nite), if everything goes well, it will be featured on this coming Sunday’s paper =)

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15 KAT May 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

flies’ head? the name’s grossssss!! is it the same as 豆豉?

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16 Yi May 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Hi Kat, I agree flies head is not the most appetizing name for such a tasty dish. You are right the black beans (豆豉) are visual representations of flies heads. Have you ever seen this dish before?

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17 Angie@Angiesrecipes May 14, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I do love home dishes like this..simple, quick, tasty and it reminds me of my mom’s cooking :-)

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18 Yi May 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

Thanks Angie!

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19 ManCantCook May 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I’ve had something similar like this in a restaurant before.

Didn’t know what that the “flies head” was before but remembered it being delicious! Drooling…

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20 Yi May 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm

It’s good to know you were adventurous enough to eat the “flies head” without knowing what it was at the time.
Hope you’ll get to make it at home sometimes!

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21 Vivienne May 13, 2011 at 8:59 pm

you’re lucky to have nice taiwanese restaurants nearby! i still haven’t found a proper tw-ese restaurant in aust after all these years haha.

hahah ive heard of this dish before but have actually never seen it before until now :P looks super tasty with a bowl of rice….hmmmm.

cute kittens btw, that first shot of midnight is pretty awesome! it almost looks cartoon-ish somehow..or humanized!

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22 Yi May 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I wish I can one day travel to TW to try the real deal. I have heard so much about TWese snack food and night market food.

Yes Alice and I have had so much fun with the kittens. Midnight is so flexible that she can almost stand like a human for a second or two.

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23 alice May 13, 2011 at 8:55 am

I love the dish and I love the cats. <3

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24 Yi May 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Thanks Alice

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