I love glass noodles or what we call tung hoon…with fish balls.
I wish I knew how to make fish balls but I don’t. I’ve seen people doing it and it did not look so easy – all that pounding to get it nice and khiew (springy). My missus bought some from a fish stall at the Dewan Suarah (Civic Centre) market here and she said that the lady made them herself. She claimed that she used ikan tenggiri (mackerel) even though I kind of suspected that she made them with the leftover fish that did not sell. Whatever it was, it turned out that they were very good!
The thing is that to make very nice fish ball soup, you would need very good fish balls. I would never use those frozen ones sold at the supermarket as they have a very peculiar taste – like those imitation crab sticks…and I’m sure they contain a whole lot of artificial preservatives to keep them from going bad. Besides, when you boil them, they will all swell up to the size of ping pong balls or bigger which goes to show that they are mostly flour and very little fish.
Anyway, I went to the market but there were none of those own-made fish balls for sale but one fishmonger suggested that I bought the local Sibu-made fish balls instead. He claimed that all the food stall in town would use the same…and in the end, I bought a few packets from him.
Cooking the soup is easy. Just throw the balls into some water with a few cloves of garlic and boil. When it has started boiling, let it simmer for as long as possible to let the taste go into the soup. Add salt and msg according to taste…or if you prefer, you may use those chicken stock granules instead and you may add a tablespoon or two of fish gravy in place of the salt and to enhance the taste. Normally people will also add a handful of tang chai (preserved vegetables) for the additional flavour which I like…but I don’t like eating them and trying to pick them out from the soup and separating them from the fish balls and glass noodles can be quite tedious. That was why I omitted them altogether.
In the meantime, you can boil some water and soak the glass noodles in it to soften them…and you can slice some chillies thinly and soak them in chio cheng (light soy sauce) to dip the fish balls and eat the glass noodles with.
Having done all that, put some of the glass noodles in a bowl, pour some of the fish ball soup over them and serve with a few of the fish balls, garnished with chopped daun sup (Chinese celery) like this…
If you like yong tofu, you will defintely like this…