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where to buy garlic chives and thai chilis?

Lau Mar 23, 2010 08:49 AM

I'm going to attempt to make this dish, anywhere know where i can get garlic chives and thai chilis?


  1. bigjeff Mar 23, 2010 09:31 AM

    Lau you can't find this stuff in chinatown? I'm sure all the grand street places close to forsyth/chrystie should have this stuff. garlic shoots might be seasonal so it should be around now or in the next couple weeks.

    1. penthouse pup Mar 23, 2010 09:32 AM

      Not sure if garlic chives are in season, but it stands to reason that if you go to Chinatown (try Mulberry below Canal), you'll find them, and then you can go to the Thai grocery on Mosca Street, off Mulberry for the chilis...

      1 Reply
      1. re: penthouse pup
        sholli Mar 23, 2010 10:06 AM

        The veggie guy/shop on the south side of Bayard between Mulberry and Mott also has thai chilis, much cheaper than the Thai grocery on Mosco. He may have garlic chives, too, but I'm not sure and language may be a barrier.

      2. l
        Lau Mar 23, 2010 10:51 AM

        yah i figured you could buy them in ctown, but i haven't gone out shopping around there in a long time except for very random specific things b/c i don't actually cook very often

        btw what are garlic chives called in mandarin? i think its jiu cai?

        this dish is awesome btw, bei gang (main st imperial) serves it

        14 Replies
        1. re: Lau
          buttertart Mar 23, 2010 11:07 AM

          Yes jiu cai. I haven't noticed them lately - wasn't looking for them - but the sidewalk vendors along Canal sell little bags of Thai chilis for a buck.

          1. re: Lau
            buttertart Mar 23, 2010 11:09 AM

            Dish looks super good, I've seen your reference to it in posts on Beigang. (A very interesting town to visit btw at Mazu festival time.)

            1. re: buttertart
              Lau Mar 23, 2010 11:23 AM

              you should try it, i'm curious to try more of their dishes...the other dishes i had were decent, but the place is super taiwanese and the cong ying tou was really really good

            2. re: Lau
              bigjeff Mar 23, 2010 12:16 PM

              "jiu cai" is regular chives, but if you want the garlic chives or garlic shoots, its called "suan miao", garlic being "suan" and "miao" being the shoots; its like pea shoots, "dou miao". think ramps in terms of flavor (they'd be a better substitute than chives or scallions); they are sweetly garlicky and relatively subtle; thicker than chives, which are usually flat, and if they are old, they will already have a little yellow bulb at the top which eventually flowers.

              1. re: bigjeff
                buttertart Mar 23, 2010 12:24 PM

                You are of course right, sorry Lau.

                1. re: buttertart
                  Lau Mar 23, 2010 02:55 PM

                  yah i was thinking that b/c at bei gang they were def thicker than chives...looking forward to trying to make this; ive never actually had this except at bei gang i dont ever remember having it in tw

                  1. re: Lau
                    buttertart Mar 24, 2010 06:15 AM

                    Me neither.

              2. re: Lau
                diprey1 Mar 23, 2010 05:02 PM

                yep, it's 韭菜, that is jiu​cai​. I think that's the one that goes into the dish (and getting older, thicker stems is quite OK), but bigjeff has a good point.

                1. re: Lau
                  philw66 Mar 24, 2010 07:18 AM

                  BTW, the recipe looks like it calls for garlic chives with the flower buds. In which case, it would be jiu cai hua in Mandarin. Should be able to get it in most Chinatown veggie markets , as well as ones in Flushing.

                  1. re: philw66
                    bigjeff Mar 24, 2010 07:26 AM

                    that'd be the slightly thicker, overgrown chives; you want the ruddiness of that when doing this stir-fry; regular thin chives will wilt in the wok. you can do this with other thicker-stemmed vegetables as well, chopped in a mince; my mom does it with the tough stem parts of cong-xing-cai for instance; you want a little heft in whatever green you up using and the dish should be quite dry.

                    1. re: philw66
                      Lau Mar 24, 2010 08:13 AM

                      jiu cai hua seems to be thicker than what i remember at bei gang although they would probably work

                      regular thin chives (jiu cai) seem way too thin

                      1. re: Lau
                        bearmi Mar 24, 2010 06:45 PM

                        I looked up a few "Fly's Head" recipes in Chinese and they all use Jiu Cai Hua / "韭菜花"... so I would recommend that you use it.... During the cooking process, the flowering chive shrinks a little bit so once you are done cooking they might become the size you saw at Bei Gang. The Flowering Chive has a crunchier texture than garlic chive so you will get a different result when you cook your dish with it.

                        For those of you who read Chinese... here are a few recipes from Taiwan....




                        Also an interesting news article (in Chinese again) here about the dish.... This dish is commonly classified as "Sichuan Cuisine" in Taiwan, but it's actually invented in Taiwan... That probably explains why I wasn't able to find any "Fly's Head" recipe in simplified Chinese... very interesting... According to this article, the guy in the photo (holding green onions) is the originator of this dish! He initially used the bottom end of flowering chive (Jiu Cai Hua) to create this dish because he wanted to recycle unused part of that vegetable...(the bottom end used to be cut off and thrown away).


                        I guess I learn something new every day!

                        1. re: bearmi
                          Lau Mar 25, 2010 06:23 AM

                          awesome thanks for clearing up...jiu cai hua it is

                          yah the consistency is somewhat crunchy, i wasn't actually sure what it was when i ate it, sort of felt like a very small string bean or something.

                          this guy is awesome b/c this dish is very awesome. highly suggest people try it if they have a chance.

                          1. re: bearmi
                            bigjeff Mar 25, 2010 06:36 AM

                            looks like either small leeks in the photo or giant chives! ya, as mentioned, my mom does the dish with tougher stems from other vegetables that you can really beat up with this dish

                    2. thew Mar 23, 2010 11:03 AM

                      besides the thai place on mosco there is a veggie stand on bayard street, i think just east of baxter but can't swear exactly, that carries some hard to find SE asian ingredients. i used to go there when i would need those little thai golfball sized green eggplants

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