Top of the street food itinerary for our trip to Hong Kong was these bad boys – fish balls. Ever since I tuned into a programme where British due Si King and Dave Myers aka The Hairy Bikers were touring Asia, these have yet to leave my mind. As Dave tucked into a bite of the famed snack he compared them to ‘fishy maltesers’ which, i’ll be honest, didn’t exactly sell them to me.
What did bring it back into play was the option of having my favourite sauce slathered all over them – hoisin. So with that in mind we headed for Yau Ma Tei metro stop to probe the area for a decent stall selling fish balls. Originally we didn’t have to look far. Out of exit A2 you walk right into the whiff of freshly cooked food all around Pitt Street which houses many good looking restaurants and places to shop, but more importantly, fish ball vendors. We ended up at a place standing at 44 Pitt Street.
My Cantonese isn’t my strongest point so ordering consisted of a game of charades indicating that I would like a small cup at $18 HKD (£1.75) which seemed to work well in the end. There are options of regular fish balls with the alternative balls being coated in a kind of chilli sauce or stock. Hoisin is in the black bottle on the counter so be sure to go nuts! If dumplings are your thing this place were doing a roaring trade in Siu Mai – Pork and Prawn steamed dumplings.
My first bite of these was actually a decent one. The fish flavour is mild and not overly strong which is pleasant. The outer skin is almost like a dumpling rather than a crispy coating. Couple that with the Hoisin and you’ve got a winning and very addictive combo. We were gutted that we only got the small size cup as you really can eat these all day.
I had remembered reading a blog or guide on the net which stated that the corner of Dundas Street had some highly recommended street food places, so with that in mind we walked up two streets to check it out. On the corner of Dundas Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street South there’s a couple of places that serve both fish balls and grilled squid that goes by the name of ‘真美味小食專家’ or if you would like the literal translation ‘Really Delicious Snacks Expert’.
The snacks here indeed looked delicious and at a similar price point to the previous place at Pitt Street. Here there’s far more choice of street snacks from squid skewers to organ broth, everything looked tempting and smelled superb. We carried on the fish ball addiction, this time opting for a large size helping at $35 HKD (£3.42) again great value and again with hoisin available.
Sadly Ali got her bottles confused in the battle between picture taking and the receiving of our hot snack and accidently grabbed chilli sauce – it nearly blew our heads off! Thankfully we located the hoisin and all was well again. These snacks are pretty standard around Hong Kong and both places offered pretty much identical products which were both delicious and affordable.
Hong Kong’s street food scene has had a major facelift since the SARS epidemic a few years back forced many street vendors into indoor food courts. Still open fronted shops such as this sell the kind of food Hong Kong is so famous for and even the odd ‘Dai Pai Dong’ still exists such as Sing Kee on Stanley Street where you can take a seat on the street and enjoy some authentic Cantonese food the way it used to be.
Nearest Metro: Yau Ma Tei