When the Foochows talk about making fish balls, they become very happy. In the olden days in China, making fish balls was a festive activity. Fish was plentiful in the Min River but it was nevertheless hard work too for every farmer, to work in the padi fields and to go fishing whenever they had the time. But in good times they had good food and of course when famine came, it was bad for every one. That was part of nature, part of life.
When the pioneering Foochow came to Sibu, they remembered their home in Min River. And they did not forget how to make fish balls.
In Foochow dialect, making fish balls is called Pak Ngii Wong, or hit fish ball.
The process of making fish ball was to scrape the fish flesh from the bones and then hit the flresh when it is a ball.
In this way the fresh of fish or the meat ball is not flaky but very solid and can bounce on the table!!
A little addition of corn starch and some times egg white may change the texture a bit by modern chefs.
When Sibu business started making fishballs we were quite happy with the products but as the years went buy we found that the standards or quality deteriorated. People do not really want to buy commercial fish balls now.
So we continue to Pak Ngii Wuong at home if we have the time.
Love making fish balls from mackerels....