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Fishballs Guide

Hong Kong, China

Food Guide

Hong Kongers eat millions of these compressed fish-meat snacks every day. And with a stall stewing fishball skewers in almost every 7-Eleven in the city, they're as ubiquitous and as accessible as that other classic Hong Kong snack, siu mai dumplings. This is a classic Hong Kong street food that you can see everywhere in this incredible city: super spicy small fishballs, with an almost neon yellow sauce.

Curry fish balls best represent Hong Kong’s street food: they’re very flavorsome, can be easily consumed while leisurely walking HK’s streets, can practically be found everywhere in the city, AND are very cheap. A skewer of 5-6 balls usually costs around HK$5 – 7 ($0.64-$0.90). HK locals have been enjoying this street snack for so many decades already. Unlike other food fads, the curry fish balls are here and are meant to stay. These golden balls of fish are deep-fried in hot oil and then boiled in a delicious and spicy curry sauce, so expect a mild kick once you pop a ball in your mouth. There is also a cheap thrill one gets from skewering the fish balls from the cauldron yourself, so don’t hesitate to ask the vendor. Accompany this delightful snack with a cold and refreshing cup of coconut juice and the pair will just perfectly hit the spot.

Served with a Side of Politics

The ubiquitous fish ball is more than a quick bite for the city. The snack sparked a so-called revolution in February, when the police began to harass fish ball hawkers in the popular Mong Kok pedestrian area for operating without licenses. The night ended in scores of bloody injuries after a violent clash between demonstrators and riot police. It may sound like an unusual catalyst for a violent mob, but in Hong Kong, democracy (just like fishballs) is part of the city's cultural DNA, where even eating is political. Hong Kong enjoys basic political freedoms and a semi-democratic government; the city is allowed autonomy from mainland China by its own mini-constitution called the Basic Law.