Definitions

fish-ball

Fish ball

Fish balls are a commonly cooked food in southern China and overseas Chinese communities. As the name suggests, the ball is made of fish meat that has been finely pulverized. Gourmet fish balls are pulverized by hand. Fish balls are a type of food product made from surimi (魚漿).

Terminology

魚蛋 and 魚旦 can been used interchangeably, and are pronounced the same. 魚旦 is used at street hawker stalls and dai pai dong in Hong Kong. 魚丸 (yú wán) and 鱼圆 (yú yuán) are more commonly used in Singapore and Malaysia.

Production

Nearly all meatballs (pork, beef, fish, etc...) made in Asia differ significantly in texture to their counterparts with European origins. Instead of grinding and forming meats, meat used for making meatballs is pounded. This is also often the case for fillings in steamed dishes. This process is what lends a smooth texture to the meatballs. Pounding unlike grinding uncoils and stretches previously wound and tangled protein strands in meat.

Hong Kong

There are two kinds of fish balls in Hong Kong. One is smaller in size, yellow in colour, usually made with cheaper meat, and is sold in skewer, each skewer containing five to seven fish balls skewer on a bamboo skewer. Usually sold at food stalls. There are many stalls which support themselves just by selling this kind of fish ball, similar to hot dog stands in the United States. The fish balls can be either spicy (often called curry fish ball) or not. It is one of the most popular and representative "street foods" (街頭熟食) of Hong Kong.

The other kind is bigger in size, white in colour, made with more costly fish meat, and has a considerably different texture and taste. This kind of fish ball is usually eaten with noodles at restaurants providing Chiuchow-style noodle , and at some cha chaan tengs, which also provide beef ball (牛丸) and cuttlefish ball (墨魚丸). Readily available in traditional market and supermarket, the fish ball is also a popular ingredient for hot pot.

One well known and popular purveyor of fish balls in broth is On Lee Fish Ball Noodles, in Shau Kei Wan.

Thailand

In Thailand, fish balls are commonly served grilled or in Chinese-influenced noodle soups.

Peninsular Malaysia & Singapore

Fish balls are cooked in many ways in Peninsular Malaysia & Singapore. Fish balls can served with soup and noodles like the Chiuchow style or served with Yong tau foo. There is also a type called "Fuzhou fish ball" which has pork fillings with the fish ball.

Philippines

The most commonly eaten type of fish balls is colloquially known simply as fishballs. It is somewhat flat in shape and most often made from the meat of cuttlefish or pollock and served with a sweet and spicy sauce or with a thick black sweet and sour sauce.

Fish balls in the Philippines are sold by street vendors pushing wooden deep frying carts. The balls are served skewered, offered with a choice of three kinds of dipping sauces: Sour (pale orange colored) - vinegar, water, diced onions and garlic, Sweet (brown gravy colored) - corn starch, banana ketchup, sugar and salt, and Hot/Sour (amber or deeper orange colored) - the sweet variety with lots of small hot chilis added. Dark sauces are rare as these are soy sauce based and soy sauce is expensive in terms of food cost for street food. The latest (2006) iteration in the Philippine fishball industry is the introduction of 'ball' varieties: chicken, squid (cuttlefish actually), and kekiam. The last are low cost renditions vaguely resembling original Chinese delicacy of the same (soundwise) name. Chicken and squid balls as well as kekiam sell at 4 US Cents. Regular fishballs sell at 1 US Cent.

See also

References

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