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Minced Pork with Chinese Chives and Black Bean in Taiwan-Style (韭菜花炒蒼蠅頭) | Yi Reservation

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

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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.

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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 tsp

2 tbsp Cooking wine

1 tsp Sugar

1/3 tsp Sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 slice Ginger, minced

1 Scallion, minced


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

1. Soak the black beans in 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.
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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.
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What’s your favorite Taiwanese dish(es)?

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  1. 19

    Hi Yi! Making this tonight. When do you add the Thai Chilis in? I can’t seem to find that step. Thanks!

  2. 18

    What is the name of the Taiwanese restaurant near Flushing did you have this dish?

  3. 17

    I have a couple of questions. Your ingredients call for 2 tbsp soy sauce + 2 tbsp…do you mean + tsp?.
    Can I use ground pork instead of minced pork?
    Thanks, Jan…those kittens are adorable

    • 17.1

      Hi Jan, thanks for spotting it. You are absolutely right that it should read +2tsp. The 2tsp is used to marinate the pork. And ground pork is perfectly fine. Also, it looks there was some formatting issue with my step-by-step illustrations (not showing at all). Will try to fix that soon. Thanks for the love to my kittens (well actually cats now) 🙂

  4. 16

    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.

  5. 15

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

  6. 14

    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.

    • 14.1

      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!

  7. 13

    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.

  8. 12

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

    • 12.1

      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!

  9. 11

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

  10. 10

    This sounds great and I will definitely try it soon

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  12. 9

    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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  14. 8

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

    • 8.1

      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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  16. 7

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

  17. 6

    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…

    • 6.1

      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!

  18. 5

    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 😛 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!

    • 5.1

      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.

  19. 4

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

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