Fishballs have become so inseparable from Hong Kong identity that they dubbed the Lunar New Year Mong Kok unrest the “fishball revolution,” even though fishballs had very little to do with the riots. But this isn’t the first time that fishballs have stoked unrest.
Reason to revolt?
When Financial Secretary John Tsang announced his 2015-2016 budget, he toyed with the idea of introducing food trucks selling street food classics such as beef offal and fishballs. The city’s hawkers, already operating on rapidly dwindling licenses, would have to pay an estimated $600,000 in start-up costs for a food truck.
A parent told Ming Pao newspaper in January this year that in a school writing assignment, her daughter’s teacher had instructed her to use the Putonghua word for fishballs— yu wan zi— instead of its Cantonese counterpart. Encroaching influence from the mainland, or just good written Chinese? You decide.
What a Load of Ball-ocks
During a 2013 legislative hearing into former anti-corruption chief Timothy Tong’s alleged lavish spending on gifts, entertainment and official visits, Tong claimed that he acted in “courtesy of reciprocity” when he bought a visiting Mainland delegation a $815 gift of beef brisket and fishballs. Guess dinner’s on Tim tonight!