Street Food Hong Kong: Curry Fishballs

Street Food Hong Kong:
Curry Fishballs

Hong Kong is home to too many restaurants to count, including Michelin-starred establishments. Yet, no trip to the city can be considered complete without sampling its famous street food scene. 

Hong Kong by Michael Kopp from Pixabay
Hong Kong street food scene by Michael Kopp from Pixabay

The street food of choice in Hong Kong is always going to be up for debate, but curry fishballs has to be one of the most ubiquitous. It's sold by most of the street stalls you'll find in Causeway Bay, Tusen Wan, Mong Kok, or Sham Shui Po, or any of the neighbourhoods where you'll find the best street snacks at places like the Tung Tat Food Shop (172 Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok). 

They've actually compiled the stats, and it's said that more than 55 tons of fishballs are consumed in the city every day. The humble fishball - typically served by the skewer and dipped in curry sauce - is also symbolic of the city's Cantonese roots

Essentially, the fish is made into paste, and then mixed with starch to make the balls. They're fried, and then cooked in the curry sauce. They're cheap and delicious. 

curry fishballs in Hong Kong
Public domain image

The dish comes originally from the Chiu Chow and Fujian provinces, and spread through Southern China during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1912). The original recipe called for the plain fishballs to be served boiled with a noodle soup. It's not known who started frying them for a crispy finish and better flavour, but that's how the street hawkers first began to catch on to the dish. The fishballs are also served on rice with the sauce on top. 

So symbolic has the fishball become of the city that, during anti-government protests back in 2016, police harassment of fishball hawkers in the Mong Kok area sparked bloodshed.

Since we can't travel right now, if you're not near Hong Kong, you can check out how to make them at home: