10/20/15 5:01pm

Of Fly Heads and Compensation Meals


Despite its name, this Taiwanese specialty contains no fly heads whatsoever.

“We’re having lunch with KF Seetoh,” my good friend Colin Goh messaged me a few weeks back. “Want to come?” Given the chance to dine with the demigod of Southeast Asian hawker food, I immediately cleared my schedule and hastened to Main Street Imperial Taiwanese Specialties.

The man behind Makansutra who’s working on Bourdain Market turned out be a regular guy, albeit one who’s really, really into his food. Our little group ordered several dishes including something known in Chinese as “chive flowers with fly heads.” 

Fly heads and rice are very, very nice.

Fly heads and rice are very, very nice.

The unusually named dish is one of the restaurant’s most popular, and contains no insect heads whatsoever. “Fly heads” is a metaphor for the black beans in the mountain of savory minced pork shot through with chives, red chilies and fermented black beans. It goes especially well over white rice.

“We have to get the yen su ji,” I said to Seetoh. “I had a horrible version of it yesterday, and need to restore order to the universe.” When I started to explain how eating a good version of salty crispy fried chicken would balance out what I like to call the law of culinary equilibrium he cut me off.

“Ah I understand, compensation meal,” he said with a laugh. The crispy crunchy chicken might very well be the best version I’ve encountered. Seetoh promised to take one of my food tours sometime. I hope he does.

Main Street Imperial Taiwanese Gourmet, 59-14 Main St., Flushing, 718-886-8788

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