PUCHONG, Sept 11 — With fish balls, finding ones with the right balance is the ultimate. Ideally, they must be soft with a slight bounce, achieved by beating the fish paste many times.
You don't want those that mimic a ping pong ball though – a sure sign that borax powder is present.
This particular stall run by a young man in Puchong sells handmade fish balls that are soft with a slight elasticity.
It's easy to spot this stall as it is located right in front of a corner coffeeshop. The table nearby with trays of fish balls drying in the sun is also a dead giveaway.
The fish balls are made daily and served with your noodles. These don't look anything like the round-shaped fish balls we are familiar with but more square shaped as they seem to have flattened with gravity.
While the shape may not appeal, it's the taste that matters. According to the owner, he uses a fish known as dou fu yu in Mandarin or the redbelly yellowtail fusilier.
This gives it a softer texture compared to say the more popular Spanish mackerel. You will find that the fish cake is also different with a softer bite.
You can order your noodles for RM7 and it's a choice of dry or with soup. For the dry version, you will get a bowl of your choice of noodles tossed with soy sauce and minced pork. On the side, there will be a bowl of broth with fish balls, a piece of fish maw and sliced fish cake.
The soup version just combines the blanched noodles with the soup and the same items such as fish balls, fish maw and sliced fish cake. There's an option to add minced meat on top of the noodles too.
You will find it's a meal of simplicity. The broth is light with a delicate sweetness that complements the items well. The fish balls are smooth and soft. The fish cake is sliced a little too thinly but is tasty. The surprise in the bowl is the fish maw, so deliciously crunchy you will relish each bite.
For the dry version, your noodles is paired with roughly chopped minced meat. This gives it a lovely texture. The flavours taste homemade as you get an occasional bite of fried shallots or if you're very lucky, a piece of crispy lard fritter.
If you're not seeking zen in your meal but punchier flavours, the chilli sauce served on the side will be the solution. It's spicy with an underlying tanginess that will amp up the flavours. I like how they give you two options for your noodles: Soy sauce with chopped chillies or the chilli sauce.
On weekends, the fish balls tend to sell out quickly; sometimes the food is sold out by 10.30am.
Handmade Fish Balls Stall, Restoran Ma Bo, 65, Jalan Bandar 1, Pusat Bandar Puchong (shophouses before Setiawalk), Puchong. Open: 7am to 1pm or until fish balls sell out. Closed on Mondays, twice a month.