Why are Hongkongers so obsessed with fish balls?
These spherical snacks are boiling in curry sauce all over the city, but, let's be honest, it's a pretty terrible combination.
It's questionable as to whether there's even any fish in the balls. Supposedly, fresh fish is pounded into a paste to make this snack. But the fish balls I've sampled have all tasted more like processed, floury sludge than the delicate meat of the ocean.
If I want to eat fish, I'll order fish. Give me a fillet of sea bass or grouper any day. Why ruin a perfectly good fish by pounding it into such an unnatural, unappetising form?
Then there's the sauce.
Each hawker claims to have their own variety, but, to me, they all taste like curry powder mixed with water in differing ratios. If you're wise, you'll avoid the thin, soupy ones. They'll splash all over you, and others, as you try to eat the "fish" balls, leaving you stinking of curry for the rest of the day.
Just to make eating this delight even more of a challenge, the fish balls are often assembled on a bamboo skewer.
Walking through Mong Kok on a Saturday afternoon, trying to eat a fish ball dripping with lumpy curry soup from a skewer that forces you to either gobble each piece whole or strategically plan every bite to avoid a runaway ball is my idea of hell.
Someone please explain to me why Hong Kong is so obsessed with them. I can't think of any-thing worse.