Ambulant fishballs vendors are a familiar sight all over the Philippines. From the humblest neighborhood to the posh business districts, their customers range from the barefoot toddlers in slum areas to the yuppies in Makati City. The “kitchen in wheels” include a portable liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank and a small gas burner on which the fishballs are deep fried. Customers take a bamboo skewer from the cart (seen tied on the arm of the umbrella) with which they pierce the hot fishballs as they brown in oil. The wide-necked bottles contain the different sauces for the fishballs–sweet, sweet and sour, and spicy–into which the skewered fishballs are dipped.
When these vendors first appeared on the streets of the Philippines, they only sold fishballs. Today, they sell chicken balls, squid balls, hot dog and kikiam as well.
The price? Back in 2004, PhP 2.00 per chicken ball, PhP 1.00 per squid ball and PhP 0.50 per fish ball. These days, I have no idea. Unlike in our old neighborhood, ambulant fish ball vendors don’t sell their stuff in our village. Speedy took these photos near the Antipolo market the other day.