Friday, June 20, 2008

Young City Fish Balls

continuing the WEEK OF FUZHOUNESE FOOD, Mooney and Wooh and I went out to lunch at Young City Fish Balls, again about a block from our school on Eldridge Street.

I had never had fish balls (yu wan, I think) which are a staple of Fuzhounese cuisine, so I figured it was time to try them. poking around online we found some other recommendations and ordered a handful of things to split.

first, we got the eponymous fish balls. for $3 you got a bowl of broth with ten golf-ball-sized fish balls floating in it. they were extremely hot (the broth was actually boiling when they set it on the table) so we had to let it cool for a while. the fish balls were made of a firm gummy paste, maybe kind of mochi-like, with a hollow in the middle containing sweet, spiced meat (seemed like beef, could possibly have been pork). the chewy ball itself was where the fishiness was couched. I liked the combo of the mild fishiness and sweet beefiness, and the texture of the boba-like fish ball outside and the meat pocket inside. dipping it in sriracha made it spicer and, I thought, improved. the broth was nothing special, simple chicken broth I think.

we also got water duck with rice noodles. it appeared to also come in some kind of chicken broth. the duck was pretty bony, which increased the flavor I'm sure, but left very little for us to eat. there were some stray pieces of celery in the brother which Wooh flipped over, picking them out and saying they were the best celery he'd ever had. they were pretty good, but I think my babcia's chicken soup celery pieces were better!

we rounded out our meal with oxtail in egg noodles. again this was bony (to be expected of oxtail), but not as bony as the duck! I got a lot of good medallions of meat from amongst the vertebrae. this broth was beefier, probably made from the oxtails themselves, and I liked it better than the water duck. The oxtail was decent, too, but I like Brazilian stewed oxtail better--huge pieces of meat sliding off the bone. this wasn't quite so tender.

all in all, it was pretty decent, although Mooney was hungry an hour later (I was not stuffed, but not starving, either). I think I'd go back and just get a $3 order of fish balls for lunch, but probably go to one of the surrounding noodle shops for noodle soup things.

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