THE BALLS

HK Magazine - - COVER STORY -

There’s more than one way to ball a fish. Here’s a peek at some of the best recipes in town.

Fish­ball & Co.

At Tak Hing Fish­ball Com­pany the fish paste is freshly made by hand every morn­ing, from croaker and Asian swamp eels. Tak Hing’s owner Lam Lo-ping, aka “Ping Gor,” tells us that the se­cret tip for get­ting a smooth and soft tex­ture is to con­stantly pour ice onto the fish paste, as the heat from all the knead­ing and mixing stops the paste from glu­ing to­gether.

All that hard work pays off, be­cause there’s a big dif­fer­ence be­tween fish paste that’s been hand-kneaded and balls that have been ma­chinemolded. Ma­chine-molded balls tend to lack the firm bite of a hand-made ball.

Tak Hing in­sists on a no-flour and no-ad­di­tive recipe—90 per­cent of their fish­balls are meat, and the rest is sea­son­ing. “Those with flour do not qual­ify to be called fish­balls,” scoffs Ping Gor.

“The stamina of Chiu Chow peo­ple is prob­a­bly the key to mak­ing fish­balls,” he says. “It’s a lot of hard work, you know.”

See the man in ac­tion and bring home some freshly made fish­balls at Tak Hing, where you can also pick up curry fish­balls and home­made curry sauce. Can’t get enough of them? Their fish­balls are also avail­able at Woo Cow Hot­pot (1-2/F, China In­sur­ance Build­ing, 48 Cameron Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui) and Kam Ho Restau­rant (91 Lion Rock Rd., Kowloon City).

76 Fuk Lo Tsun Rd., Kowloon City, 2382-0646.

Fishy Se­crets

Wong Yim-hing of Wong Lam Kee Chiu Chow Fish­ball Noo­dles has been mak­ing fish­balls for over 40 years, ever since he started help­ing out his brother in the 70s.

His fish paste is made from the “three trea­sures of fish­balls”— con­ger-pike eel, flat­head grey mul­let and croaker. Every morn­ing he makes over 100 cat­ties—more than 60kg—of fresh fish­balls.

Wong also keeps his fish cold to avoid break­ing up the pro­teins in the paste. But cold as it is, the work­ers refuse to wear gloves when han­dling the ice-cold paste, so they get a bet­ter sense of its tex­ture and stick­i­ness with their fingers. Later, the paste is hand-squeezed into balls, which in­tro­duces air into the mix­ture and cre­ates a fluffy fine­ness. Some­times chopped spring onions are added for an ex­tra herby note. Wong’s idea of a good fish ball? Crunchy, smooth and al dente. Check, check and check.

Shop A, 10 Shau Kei Wan Main St. East, Shau Kei Wan, 2886-0068.

Fry­ing the fish­balls makes them more fla­vor­ful and pre­vents them from spoil­ing so eas­ily. Fish­balls are cooked in a clear broth, then dipped in curry sauce be­fore be­ing served. Can’t take the heat? Soy sauce and hoisin sauce work too. Fish is minced with knives, then mixed with sea­son­ing and squeezed into balls—all by hand.

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