Each passing day, I learn more and more about the food culture in Hong Kong. Since I am learning basic Cantonese now, I can communicate more comfortably with the local fish mongers in the seafood markets in Hong Kong. For instance, I recently learned from an old Chinese lady that garoupa or lung den fish and cuttlefish are the best for making Asian fishballs. Congee tastes awesome with a special kind of fish, called nai mang, and sha koon fish is one of the preferred ones for clear fish soups!
Carp (lei) is a very popular fish in Hong Kong and the locals buy a lot of this fish (the word “lei” means abundance) as they believe that eating a lot of this fish will bring prosperity in their lives.
Another local suggested that one should try stewed and minced pork balls with brown sauce, traditionally cooked in a clay pot. There is a fancy name for this dish: “lion head” balls! These are cooked with Shanghai pak choi (bok choi) to create a flavor that lingers! Fuzhou fishballs are worth a mention here: made with eel on the exterior and a juicy pork meatball inside, it is a culinary experience in its own right!
Undoubtedly, fishballs and meatballs are very popular in Hong Kong. There are a number of variations found here. The meatballs, usually beef balls, are brownish balls in which minced meat is pounded together with other ingredients to produce balls which taste awesome in soups, noodles and stir-fries.
Fishballs are among the most popular street foods in Hong Kong! These differ in color, texture and shape. Even fish blocks are available here, which are often sold fried. Interesting variations in fishballs include lobster balls, cuttlefish balls, octopus balls, fish siu mai, etc. There are interesting color variations, too. The most interesting ones include those with alternating color and white stripes!
For those of you with an adventurous spirit and an interest in these fishballs, try this recipe below!
Asian fishball soup with flat rice noodles
Asian cuttlefish balls: 12
Asian lobster balls: 12
Pak choi (or any other Chinese green vegetable): handful
Chinese brown mushrooms (chopped): 10
Broccoli florets: 8–10
Chopped spring onion greens: ¼ cup
Carrots (chopped): ½
Finely chopped garlic: 4 tbsp
Chinese onion (roughly chopped): ½ cup
Fish sauce (nam pla): 3 tbsp
Chicken broth: 7 cups
Warm water: 1 cup
Chicken powder: 1 tbsp
Mung bean sprouts: handful
Salt: according to taste
Crisp-fried garlic (store-bought): for garnishing
Boiled and drained flat rice noodles (to be boiled with little salt and oil)
Sesame oil: 1.5 tbsp
Boneless chicken cubes (marinated in 1 tbsp dark soy sauce): 1 cup
Heat the pan and add the sesame oil. When the oil smokes, add the onion and sauté for 2 min. Add the garlic and sauté again for 1 min.
Now add the chicken and sauté till the chicken is almost cooked. Add the first seven ingredients and sauté for five more minutes.
Now add the chicken broth, chicken powder mixed in warm water and the fish sauce. Let this simmer for 25 min. Add the salt now, if required.