Fried Flies’ Heads. A more unappetizingly named dish I have never encountered. This Taiwanese dish is composed of ingredients far more mundane than flies, including minced pork, fragrant chives, piquant peppers and salty preserved black beans cut into equal minute pieces. The ingredients are then rapidly stir-fried so that the pork stays moist, the vegetables crunchy and the parfum au wok resplendently present at the table. It also tastes like ambrosia, a perfect melange of sweet, salty, herby and deceptively spicy flavors. I would gladly order it even if it took on an even less distinguished sounding name, and then shovel the whole plate into my mouth with some rice.
The name C&L Imperial doesn’t give much away about the restaurant, its provenances, its cooking styles etc. But if you read Chinese, the name 北港台菜馆 spells out the proprietor’s intentions, that is to serve up some brilliant home-style Taiwanese dishes. And if you read Chinese, you’d be well served to start reciting the handwritten signs on the walls to help your decision making process.
But if you don’t, here’s a suggestion. Start your dinner this winter with a crock of Chicken in wine (鸡酒锅). This is a dish traditionally served to new mothers to replenish their spent energies but one does not need to be pregnant or a new mum to enjoy this. The soup is rich with the sweetness of rice wine and chicken, while the pungent old ginger adds spice and gentle heat that warms one to the core. Finally, a generous douse of sesame oil amps up the aroma and flavor. Best remedy for winter chill ever.
Besides these two excellent dishes, we also had other darn-good dishes ordered by our hosts: some fresh, small pomfrets, stir-fried bitter gourd and a sticky plate of intestines and shredded ginger. We especially appreciate the home-cooked quality of the food here, so earnest compared to the flashier meals we had at other restaurants. Definitely an address to keep in our dossier!
C&L Imperial Inc (Taiwanese Gourmet)
59-14 A Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355