Filipino food might be the current darling of haute cuisine now, but there’s nothing like our local street food. Sure, a gold-flecked, Cristal champagne donut filled with ube cream might be an absolute show-stopper. But would it entice you as much as a serving of orange kwek-kwek in sweet and sour sauce would? Of course not.
While street food isn’t as elevated as what they might serve in five-star hotels, it’s an important part of our culture. Its very existence contributes to a city’s economic and geographic fabric. If you want to understand a place a bit better, seek out what its residents consume on the streets.
Now, we have no shortage of street food back home. However, the most universal of them is arguably the humble fish ball.
These unassuming rounds of flour and fish meat don’t look like much, but they’re utterly delicious after they’ve been fried in very hot oil and dipped in sticky, sweet sauce. Gracious, I’m craving a few bites myself right now.
Usually, you can head out to a random street vendor in Manila or Cebu to get your fish ball fix. If that isn’t possible, you can make your own using the recipe below:
Homemade Fish Balls
(adapted from Pepper.ph’s recipe)
500g white fish (cream dory works best)
1 tbsp. turmeric
½ cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. cold water
Oil, for frying
In a food processor, combine fish, turmeric, flour, salt, pepper, and water in a food processor. Blitz until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a large skillet.
Meanwhile, form the fish mixture into tablespoon-sized balls.
Fry the fish balls in the oil until they turn golden brown.
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with the sauce of your choice.
Wait, how do you make the sauce? Well, let’s just say that’ll come up in another article soon. Stay tuned.