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6 types of fish balls you will find around Hong Kong

The curry fish ball needs no introduction; it’s a beloved Hong Kong street snack. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to logging the best around town. What you may not know is that the humble fishball comes in a variety of iterations of its own: Some sweet, some savoury, some saved for a very special, luxurious treat.

Something cool: Ice Cream

fishballs hong kong

Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel is almost a picture perfect take on the traditional fish ball. But instead of the chewy, toothsome bite of fish, that texture comes by way of glutinous rice balls with house-made red bean ice cream stuffed in the centre. A theatric flambé finish gives it that recognisable golden, crackly crust. It may not be the savoury treat you had in mind, but it’s one that just as satisfying.

Image courtesy of Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel

Something classic: Curry

fishballs hong kong

The curry fish ball is the quintessential classic. It’s the very first image that comes up when you put “Hong Kong fish ball” through Google. It’s typically served in fives on a skewer for a very affordable HK$10. Sometimes it comes in a styrofoam cup. But it’s always slathered in a deliciously saucy curry satay and an extra tasty dollop of chilli sauce. Beware of stray drippings on your shoe.

Image courtesy of Fishball Concern Group / Facebook

Something comforting: Soup

fishballs hong kong

Fish balls soaked in a bowl of clear consommé broth is a whole different sort. The Chiu Chow fish ball. It’s the fish ball at its very original iteration; served before shallow frying, which gives others the signature golden-yellow coat. Roughly moulded from fish paste and dunked into boiling water, these fish balls are pure white with irregular spheres. It comes in a bowl sprinkled with chopped spring onion, fried garlic and a light noodle base of your choice.

Here is where you can do your best fish ball test –– anything with a light, springy chew that bounces right back.

Image courtesy of @petitfeilee / Instagram

Something indulgent: Deep-fried

fishballs hong kong

These deep-fried fish balls are actually very similar to the curried iteration, except better; tastier. Anything that comes with a crackly crust usually is. They’re coated, breaded and heavily fried for a bubbly coat that rivals another traditional street-food favourite: three fried stuffed treasures. All together, it’s a beautiful balanced bite of crunchy exterior with soft, chewy interior, with the distinct tang of accompanying sweet, soy and chilli sauce.

Image courtesy of Fishball Concern Group / Facebook

Something sweet: Egg Waffle

fishballs hong kong

So, this sweet snack is actually something many are familiar with: egg waffles. But rather than the flat, honeycombed structure seared on a heated iron mould, the egg waffle bubbles are isolated into singular bites and skewered on a very long bamboo stick. It’s an ingenious hybrid that we didn’t think of, but we’re so glad that someone else did. Just don’t mistake this sweet one for the savoury –– the resemblance is uncanny.

Image courtesy of @yanbeeyeung/Instagram

Something conversational: Cheung Chau

fishballs hong kong

Cheung Chau fish balls have garnered a notable reputation of their own. Not as prolific as their city-based counterpart, they can really only be enjoyed on the outlying island a speedy 30 minute boat-ride away. But you cannot claim knowledge of Hong Kong fish balls until you’ve made the trip for these: It has the same springy bounce, rich umami flavour and most stalls in Cheung Chau serve authentic homemade recipes. The unconventional, super-sized shape is what give these its favourable rep. Enjoy with a light drizzle of soy, and thank us later.

Image courtesy of @mrpigmisspanda / Instagram

Header image courtesy of @iorikong / Instagram

Lorria Sahmet
With two years in luxury retail, Lorria continues to cover fashion, food and lifestyle here at Lifestyle Asia. When not roaming garden centres for new plants in her indoor jungle, catch her hunting down the best fries in the city. She's happiest by the ocean with a fishbowl-glass of Aperol Spritz.