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Other than Asian cuisines, what other cuisines have "fish balls"

I have a dinner at Asta (Boston) riding on this.

Any thoughts or insights?

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  1. New England. My grandfather made fabulous fish balls from salt cod.

    1. The Danes eat fish balls.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          I like gefilte fish (and not many of us goyim do)

          1. re: hill food

            It can be anywhere from sublime to vile. My Mom's, closer to the sublime end. The stuff in the jar, not so much.

            My wife (a shiksa), however, won't touch the stuff in any form. To get back at her, I refuse to drink gin.

            1. re: acgold7

              ac - I've never had the jarred. been lucky I guess. but I do understand how it's a particular taste.

              uhh isn't 'shiksa' a strong term?

              1. re: hill food

                Considering that "goy" means either "heathen" or "unwashed," I wouldn't say it's any worse, no.

                But if it bothers you I'll be happy to change it. It is certainly not my intent to offend.

                1. re: acgold7

                  shiksa is not a bad word per se-whereas goy has a definite negative connotation

                  1. re: acgold7

                    I'm not offended by much of anything. you'll have to try harder!

                  2. re: hill food

                    I've never had anything but jarred which I love. I wonder if I'd even like home made?

                  3. re: acgold7

                    depends on the fish used for the "gefilte" fish

                    1. re: jpr54_1

                      Absolutely. Mom was a stickler about what fish she used.

                      Mom used so much onion that her gefilte actually tasted sweet, while the jarred stuff (which I find not too bad) has more of a tinny taste and spongy texture. But it's easier than making it myself.

              2. Bolas de Bacalao Frito (Spanish tapas)

                There should be a variation of this in Portugal...pretty easy to find in Macau as well at their local Portugese and Macanese restaurants (the ones that don't just serve pork chop buns).

                And from Wikipedia:

                Fishballs in parts of Europe:

                Fiskbullar in Sweden and fiskeboller in Norway are usually bought in cans. In Sweden, they are normally served with mashed potatoes or rice, boiled green peas and dill, caviar or seafood sauces. In Norway, they are commonly served with potatoes and white sauce made with the stock from the can, sometimes with added curry.

                1 Reply
                1. re: K K

                  And there definitely is a variation in Brasil as well. Carribean culture, Jamaica in particular does have fish balls too. I would be hard pressed to find a culture that eats a lot of fish that would not bring it together and fry it in a ball.

                2. In less than 10 minutes time it looks like I'm getting a free dinner.

                  As always, my Chowhound buddies come through!

                  1. Although not "ball" shaped, the classic French Quenelle could for sure be included in this list.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: robt5265

                      I had the same thought (below) at apparently the same time! I was debating as to whether they are more on the "fishcake" spectrum of fish amalgamations, but decided that their shape and preparation landed them on the "ball" side of the court, so to speak :)

                      1. re: pickledtink

                        Definitely a fish ball. My favorite has been made from pike in Vouvray along side the Loire river.

                      2. re: robt5265

                        When I think of quenelle, I think of the movie Tampopo.

                      3. Would quenelles, sometimes made out of fish mixed with binding ingredients, count? They're not round like Asian fish balls but are ovoid (as far as I know) so not too far off....

                        1. Indian - fish balls, fish kofta, fish cutlets

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ceekskat

                            Do you not consider India to be part of Asia?

                            I don't mean to pick a quibble, just curious.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I just look at it from the perspective of when a visitor asks the SF board for Asian recs, i don't think he/she is thinking of Indian.

                              Curious, was India included in your/friend's list of Asian cuisines with fish balls?

                              1. re: ceekskat


                                I only hangout with geographically-correct people.

                          2. oh you're just shooting fish (balls) in a barrel. I want to meet this friend that accepts such sucker bets.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: hill food

                              Perhaps, but you don't know the exact parameters of the wager ...

                                  1. In NZ, Our national game appears to be rugby, and there's always commentary about 'men with odd-shaped balls'...

                                      1. All Scandinavian and Mediterranean cuisines have fish balls. And due to the Mediterranean influence (Spain, Portugal, Italy) South America has them too. Also coastal Middle East and North African cuisines.

                                        I feel it is safe to say that every coastal cuisine globally has them. Plus land locked cuisines that use dried fish like salt cod.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: JMF

                                          I feel it is safe to say that every coastal cuisine globally has them.


                                          Even Inuit cuisine?

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            Picky, picky. Inuit cuisine was a bit short on binders like grain and grain products like bread. But, Inuit cuisine has changed drastically since the 1950's. I'm willing to bet that something in the ballpark of fishballs is currently made and I'd be surprised if they weren't.

                                          1. Laura Ingalls WIlder mentions eating fish balls several times in the Little House book series, also. So...I guess we'd call that American?

                                            1. So it seems that lots of cultures eat fish balls, but how in the hell do you castrate the fish??

                                              1 Reply