Probably one of the most common snack foods in Hong Kong are curry fish balls. I can’t claim that they are super tasty, but when I want a cheap, and decent tasting snack, I’ll go grab a stick at a nearby food stand.
Usually prices are less than 1 USD for a skewer with 5 fish balls. I’m not a big fan of fish, but there isn’t any kind of overwhelming fishy flavor, and if there is, it’s masked by the strong taste of the curry sauce it’s boiled in. Also, since I don’t normally eat that much fish, I convince myself that fish balls are loaded with omega-3 fats, which is a lie, but makes me feel healthier. The texture can be only described as rubbery and firm, which doesn’t make sense until you try it. This is because most Chinese meatballs are continuously kneaded, which results in their unique chewy, rubbery texture.
If you ask anyone, they will have their own favorite fish ball place, but to be honest, there isn’t much variation in regards to taste and variety, as most shops use the pre-packaged variety. Of course, there are places that make exceptional fish balls and my favorite place to grab them is actually on the Island of Cheung Chau, which is a 30-50 minute boat ride from the Central Pier. It’s a bit out of the way, but there are 2 famous fish ball varieties that have made their mark in fish ball lore, the handmade, deep-fried fish balls, and the giant fish balls.
The handmade balls are only made at Kam Wing Tai Fish Ball (甘永泰魚蛋). The special thing about these is, well, they’re hand made. They still have their unique fishy flavor, although it isn’t overwhelming and the fact that they deep-fry their fish balls means that they don’t need to mask any flavor in curry sauce. This is probably one of the best in Hong Kong, with a fresh, clean taste.
The famous giant fish balls, on the other hand taste basically the same as their smaller counterparts, although giant. There isn’t much else to say, except that these are just giant. You can get them all over the island, and there isn’t much variation in taste, as I’m pretty sure they all use the same kind.
The handmade variety will set you back at a somewhat expensive 2 USD a skewer (but you get what you pay for), and the giant fishballs most a little over 1 USD.