Ambulant fishballs vendor Ambulant fish ball vendor

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. Ambulant fish ball vendor

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.

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The Author

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

53 Responses

  1. rose says:

    i’m having a craving for those pinoy fishballs but for the life of me can’t get the recipe.. could you help? PPPPPLLLLEEEEAAASSSSSEEE?

  2. chris says:

    mayron kaya tayong buko pie cooking tips dyan?

    • Connie says:

      naku yang fish balls and buko pie, we buy. dunno how to make them.

      • Chef GIO says:

        hi all. In regards to you fish balls request. I know the procedure on how to make them but being a chef, I do a lot of eye balling, meaning cooking without measuring. All you have to do is to de-bone your white fish (Bangus). Then mix it with flour, corn starch and a little bit of baking powder. Season the mixture with ground white pepper and salt. You may even garnish it with chopped chives or green onions. Form the mixture into balls and drop them in seasoned boiling water. They are cooked when each one of them starts to float on the surface. Skim them out and lay them on clean dry towel to drain. You can then store these in the fridge until you’re ready to fry them ala magpi-fishball. Get it?

        • Chef GIO says:

          By the way, “bind” the fish ball mixture with either eggs or a bit of water. Sorry, I spaced out on that part. I knew this was missing something. You may form the balls with your bare hands, just remember to coat them well with a bit of flour. So your hands don’t get all messy and sticky. Enjoy.

          • Beth says:

            I would like to know how to make fish ball and its sauce? thanks ,

          • Connie says:

            Beth, that’s what Chef GIO outlined in comment numbers 5 & 6.

          • Ben says:

            Pwede po bang mag paturo po ng pag gawa ng pinoy fish ball kasi po miss na miss ko na po iyo wala po rito sa UK. salamat po

          • ana halawany says:

            may fishball machine 1,000 balls/min ako at may area na pwede gawing commissary I like to help people who are jobless actually i have other business can you please send me some guielines on how to run this kind of business please

        • Malicdem Tony says:

          Gud dat cheh,i tried to cook ur recipe about fish ball,pero di siya pa rin kagaya ng fish ball sa tinitinda sa kalye na kapag niluto ay nalobo at kapag malamig na nag deplate.

  3. rose says:

    hi chef gio,
    thanks for the recipe i am still dying for them
    haven’t made them yet but do you think they would be like the ones in the phillipines, i mean they are round when deepfried then they kind of deflate as you skewer them?
    my gosh can’t wait to try them
    thanks again.. oh by the way is there any sugar in them they tasted a bit sweet

  4. Connie says:

    I have a recipe for that GIjane. Just use the search box.

    • odette says:

      hmmm…i miss fish balls sooo much :P specially that sweet and spicy dip yummm hay cant wait to try that recipe from chef gio :) how about squid balls :) do i just replace fish with squid hehe i miss that too…wish i can find a pinoy store round here :(

      • lion says:

        Salamat Chef Gio, Thanks for taking the time to share w/ us the recipe. ang hirap hanapin, puro kasi missleading ang karamihang sites.

  5. lani says:

    i am planning to open a fish and squidball counter however i do not have any idea on how to make the 3 the sauces. please send me how to make the 3 kinds of sauce — sweet, sweet & sour, spicy.thank you and hoping for your immediate response.:razz::wink:

  6. Nova says:

    The sweet sauce is a mixture of water, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and sugar. I don’t have the measurements so you are going to have to keep trying but keep in mind that you want to let the vinegar taste boil itself out (just as if you were making adobo). The majority of the mixture will be the water. If I were to guess, try about a table spoon of soy sauce and a teaspoon of vinegar to every cup of water. Sweeten to your liking. The sauce is thickened by use of cornstarch (dissolve in water and stir in slowly).

  7. Thonie says:

    More sauce recipe please… would like to know more info on fishball sauces for it will bring the taste of our fish balls without it fishball is not tasty that much

  8. yummy fishball sauce says:

    sauce: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cane vinegar, 1 cup water, chopped red chilis in a saucepan. simmer for 5 minutes thicken with cornstarch. turn off heat add minced garlic… yummmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    • felixberto says:

      my son loves these balls until he developed severe allergy after eating chicken balls from the mall. do you cut the fish into small pieces?

      • enrisel says:

        i used the recipe for the sauce in this website but i added a table spoon of oyster sauce/:???: it did make a difference according to MY tasting…

        • felixberto says:

          tatadtarin ba ang isda?

          • joey says:

            Oh eto na recipe for the famous Fish ball sauce…u can add or removed some ingredients depending on your taste buds’ preferences…gutom na ko!! ha ha

            Red Sweet and Sour Fish Ball Sauce

            1/2 Cup Vinegar
            1/2 Cup White sugar
            1 tablespoon Catsup, to color
            1 tablespoon Cornstarch


            Pour Vinegar into pan, dissolve sugar, low-medium heat.
            Dissolve catsup in 1/4-cup water, then mix with vinegar and sugar in pan. Slowly simmer.
            Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4-cup water, then add to mixture, stir.
            Turn to high heat for 10secs or until consistency is just right., add grounded pepper(optional).
            Brown Fish Ball Sauce

            Same procedure just add Sprite or 7 Up to vinegar and sugar mixture (according to taste) some fish ball vendors use Royal or Orange Soda.
            For the color and consistency, substitute catsup with soy sauce and cornstarch with flour.
            Note: Corn Starch makes a clear sauce, Flour makes a merky looking sauce, no difference in developing consistency)

            Thanks to RoCz for sharing this recipe.

    • joey says:

      Best way to process fish if meat grinder is not available is just use food processor(blender) and add a little water.You can also add all the ingredients here to make it easier at kung may natitirang big peices or lumps of flour just put it in the bowl and use ypur finger or a piece of spoon.

      • Fishball Addict says:

        Fishball Sauce ni Manong Fishball::grin:

        1/3 cup soy sauce
        1/3 cup vinegar
        1/3 tbsp. sugar
        1 cup water

        1 slice siling labuyo
        1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in
        1-2 tbsp. water

        Paghaluin ang soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, water at sili sa isang saucepan.

        Pakuluin. Tapos cornstarch na.

        Ituloy lang ang pagluluto hanggang sa lumapot. Dapat mahina lang ang apoy.

        Ang lasa ay depende na daw sa inyo kung matamis b o maanghang.

        -Yan sbi ni manong fishball sken. :wink:


        • polka says:

          Thanks a bunch! Big help! :mrgreen::razz::wink::wink:

          • Janet says:

            I miss the fishballs in the Philippines! Di masarap yung andito kasi di kahalo yung konting alikabok! :P But anyway, I need to try making my own fishball and lets see what happens! Thanks!

  9. joana says:

    heheheheh paano po gawin ang leche flan,natry ko once pero bulky ang resulta

    • nyk says:

      Im going to try out Chef Gios Fish Ball recipe.

      Ive tried the others I found, even the ones from the asian cookbooks I have but it doesnt come out the same as the ones from the philippines. lol I dont want to sound too picky but the pinoy fishballs are the best ones
      I miss them so much.

      Im also wondering how I can get Chicharon Bulaklak recipe. Anyone?

  10. jetrice says:

    bakit ganun? i tried the recipe above for fish ball sauce, pero maasim :( depende rin ba dapat sa vinegar? i used datu puti

  11. chick says:

    thanks sa recipe nung sauce. sarap nung sauce nila eh. kakatakot lang if malinis yung tinda nila. hehe

  12. tatzi says:

    I’ve read somewhere na yung fishball sa Pinas ay gawa sa cuttlefish and not exactly just anyfish … but i’ve tried mackerel, ok din naman … but of course mas masarap pa rin yung may kasamang alikabok at pawis ni manong magfi-fishball! hehehe

  13. dawn says:

    pano po ba gumawa ng masarap na fishball sauce???

  14. Rh B says:

    Kung meroon mga taong living near Union City… or within driving distance of said City sa California, there is a place where they sell the Fish Balls, Kikiam, squid balls and lobster balls (though I’m seriously doubting the lobster ball thing)… Including sauce…

    (Thanks for the recipes, I’ll try them soon!)

    It’s off of Alvarado Blvd. Can’t remember what the market name was, but it’s the corner of Dyer and Alvarado Blvd… First of its kind I’ve seen, and I’ve looked in the Bay Area, and Sacramento already… None in Tracy or Modesto, or Stockton as well… Perhaps someone ought to introduce this food thing like the Latinos do… He he he… Taco trucks and all…

  15. rowena says:

    You have to let the vinegar boil first bago haluin kase umaasim ang suka pag hinahalo ng di pa kumukulo

  16. Connie says:

    Huh? Nasa bote pa lang ang suka, maasim na.

  17. JAMIE says:


  18. GERNI YAMBAO says:

    Please need fish ball recipe and karaoka ( like fish ball but sweet )

    • Jocelyn Watson says:

      I need the recipe for the philippine fishball. Please send me the recipe, i will appreciate it very much
      Jocelyn wtson

  19. Faye says:

    I’ve read the recipe of how to make the Filipino fish balls; however I do not cook, I am very bad in cooking even though you give me instruction. Is there a website or store I can order the Filipino fish ball from the Philippines or somewhere in the US that will deliver?

  20. jerine saligumba says:

    send nyo po sa akin ang recepe ng fish ball kasi wla akong trabaho gusto ko gawin negosyo.thnx and more power……………

  21. stardust says:

    Masarap ata kung maya maya ang gagamitin kaysa bangus. Excited na akong i try out yung fishball sauce. Iba pa rin talaga yung nabibili sa mga vendor ng fishballs.

    • chef raf says:

      khit ano asim ng suka bsta hinalo nyo ng hindi p kumukulo lalo umaasim klangan maluto muna ung vinegar that the secret khit ano putahe

      • menggay says:

        Fish Ball SAUCE

        1/3 soy sauce
        2 tbsp Vinegar
        1./3 water
        1/3 sprite
        1 spoon sugar
        siling labuyo

        MIX them all together and add 1 tsp of cornstarch. Make sure your temp is low.

        The sauce is soo good!!! enjoy.

  22. chef raf says:

    khit anong fish pwede gmitin kung ano mas mura ,basta gwin nyo lng minced nyo yung mga fish pra mas mganda pag niluto nyo

  23. chris says:

    Oh, what a pity, I couldn’t get that Pinoy’s fish ball’s recipe… Please help I also got this cravings of eating home made fish balls.

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