Pinoy Street Treats: Fishballs

By Mariko on 31 July, 2009

Pinoy Street Treats: Fishballs
Bubble, bubble, oil and trouble: Fishballs, squid balls, and kikiam in a sea of artery-clogging oil

I remember being thrilled when, years ago, my mom came home from a trip to the supermarket with a bag of frozen fishballs. It meant two things: First, I didn’t have to escape from Father Dear’s watchful (paranoid) eye whenever I was hankering for these fishy discs; and second, I could have fishballs whenever I wanted—I needn’t get in line (and I use the term “line” loosely here) to spear five pesos’ worth of fishballs onto a barbecue stick. (For the uninitiated, it’s just fifty centavos a pop.) Bonus: No more annoying tusok-tusok jokes from my guy friends!

And so I eagerly waited as the white wonders, floating in all that Baguio oil, slowly turned slightly golden. We scooped them onto plates, covered in paper towels, then allowed them to cool. Then, spearing a couple of pieces with a silver fork, I dipped them in some store-bought sweet and sour sauce, fully expecting to satisfy my fish ball craving.

Pinoy Street Treat: Fishballs
Jars of sweet and/or spicy sauce, and vinegar with onions and chili for dipping

Alas, my hygienic, oil-drained, home-cooked version of fishballs couldn’t even come close to the questionable ones being peddled on the streets. It was then that I realized: Overused cooking oil, splintery barbecue sticks, and sweet/spicy sauce in reused bottles—made more flavorful by that glorious faux pas called double dipping—complete the whole fishball experience. And for that, I’ll risk getting hepatitis, again and again.




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  • AUGUST 10, 2009 1:45 PM

    goodfor2 said...

    cheap thrills!!!!!

  • AUGUST 11, 2009 3:28 AM

    Chinkee said...

    Winner! For some reason, the authentic "street" version just cannot be matched by the ones I try to cook at home. I think there's a certain thrill to the high probability of catching Hepa B. Haha! Happy eating!

  • OCTOBER 4, 2009 9:31 PM

    judy said...


    Is there anyways I can please order for streets fishball here in USA coz I miss it alot..I tried to make for myself but I can't do it. Something went wrong after I drop it into the friying wok and when i tried gave a taste it was good but i want exactly what i bought in the street, please try to email me at

  • FEBRUARY 9, 2010 3:38 AM

    Mariko said...

    Hi everyone,

    Judy, I do wish I could help you. But maybe you could ask a relative to buy, freeze, and bring over a pack of uncooked street fishballs from a manong on the street?