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Oct 4, 2007 10:38 AM

Fishballs (as in, the Chinese dish)?

I have been getting into this dish; most recently, I ordered them at Little Pepper in Flushing to compliment (or offset) the intense spiciness of the other dishes. The sweet-and-sour sauce was a bit too heavy and overpowering for my taste, but the fishballs themselves were delicious.

Does anyone have any particular recommendations for places to get fishballs in Queens, and any suggestions for what prepartion or sauce is best?

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  1. I love the Fujian over sized fish ball with a little bit of pork filling in the center .
    On Roosevelt between Main and Prince there's a Plant shop called Soybean Chan, who sells fresh DouHua (tender soy custard) with ginger syrup, (pay extra for added soft peanuts). Besides the soy bean curd and some tea eggs for take out, they usually have a bag of fish balls for sale. The fish has been pounded to be quite fluffy and tender, the little bit of meat with some pickled sauce in the center really adds to the flavor. I usually take it home, boil some water, or make a clear broth, and add those fish balls, plus some glass noodles if they're handy. Just garnish with freshly chopped Chinese celery, or cilentro, a dash or two of white vinegar, white pepper, and it's a nice night cap.

    12 Replies
    1. re: HLing

      I've read about this guy in the NY Times. Years and years ago, he was a young immigrant selling douhua on the street, outside a bank. The bank owner thought of calling the cops to chase him away, but, remembering the days when he, the bank owner, had been a poor immigrant, he instead agreed to let the guy stay, provided he helped out by opening the bank door for elderly customers, etc. The guy did this, and over many years earned the money to open his own shop. Now he is old, and makes so much money on plants that he doesn't need to sell the custard, but he stil gets up at 5 every morning to make the custard. Why? the reporter asked. "What would my customers do without the custard? They would miss it!" he replied.

      1. re: Brian S

        Brian S
        You really, really, really have to write a book. You have the best stories/reviews/historical backgrounds!
        Thank you for this little gem.

        1. re: Brian S

          That's a nice story...although, the guy at Soy Bean Chan isn't that old..maybe 50's at the most.

          1. re: HLing

            The vendor started selling doufu hua in the 1990's, and the article didn't say he was old. Here's the link:


            On a related note, is there any place in Flushing that sells the savory/chili-laced version of doufu hua (a.k.a. doufu nao)?

            1. re: Xiao Yang

              for the northern Chinese savory/chili-laced doufu nao, see here:

              I hope that place is still alive and well as it was the only such style doufu nao I know. .Update anyone?

              1. re: HLing

                That account of the mall place suggests the doufu hua had a mustardy peanut sauce. The version I'm looking for (popular in Shanghai) is laced with chili and black bean paste:

                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  Interesting..I've never seen that much black beans in a doufu hua. Is this the current trend in Shanghai? Or is it a particular regional convention? I've attached a photo i took 2 or 3 years ago from one of the small streets near the old temple area in Shanghai. (XiShi being the name of the supposed most beautiful woman from Hangzhou i wondered if the vendor is from that region.)

                  You might be able to find the verison you want from King 5 Noodles on Prince between 39th ave and Roosevelt, or from Nanxiang Noodle House on Prince between 39th and 37th ave. I tend to get sweet douhua when I go to those two places, for some reason, so i can't say exactly how they will be, but only that these two places will be more like the Shanghainese rather than the more northern regions.

                  I favor the savory kind from the mall place because theirs has the smoothest and creamiest texture. While my post form the link may be misleading, I just wanted to clarify that there isn't a peanutty flavor to their sauce, and that there IS a darker sauce that they put on as well. Pretty sure though, that the dark sauce is not black bean sauce. There is the option of spicy or not (chili or not), as well as with garlic sauce or without. Also , they calll it Doufu Nao, as opposed to doufu Hua.

                  (p.s. I just realized that there isn't a way to put caption to the photo attached. Just to clarify, this is a photo of a picture I took in Shanghai, not one from Flushing)

                  1. re: HLing

                    I don't think it's a trend, just the way one particular vendor makes it. I've had it with hardly any bean sauce.

                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                      Interesting thread... My wife and I had the most fantastic fishballs we bought from a street vendor in Hong Kong -- not the kind of fishball you find with noodles in a Chaozhou joint, but smaller, say five or six of them served on a skewer. If I'm not mistaken, the fish meat was either shark or dare I say whale, I don't recall but thought it might have been exotic. Does anyone know where to find the best variety of this type of fish ball in NYC? And more specifically, what's this type of fish ball called?


                      1. re: RawTunaFan

                        Not sure what kind of fish it is, but the carts that sell meat kebabs on the street often also have fish ball kebabs.

        2. re: HLing

          There is a place on Eldridge Street that specializes in these Fujianese fish balls...and has a dining room where you can eat them.

          1. re: HLing

            ohhh cool, i've walked by that flower shop guy serving dou hua a bunch of times and i almost tried it last time i was there, but i was too full...i love good dou hua (i really like the ginger syrup stuff), so looks like i'll need to get some next time i'm in flushing