EatSPN Sports Headline
-- by Cha Xiu Bao
Mud Carp "Lang Yu" table tennis balls
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has just approved the deep-fried mud carp (or dace if you prefer the balls to sound more appetizing) 45 mm ping pong ball, available in golden and Hong Kong made, to be used in competition at all levels in the coming 2008 Beijing Olympic.
With much less traction attracted than its celluloid predecessor, the mud carp table tennis ball can travel at speeds up to 160 kilometers per hour (almost 100 mph). It is predicted that Chinese paddlers will benefit vastly from the use of such almost like fish to water, and will thus again sweep the ping-pong tournament in the coming Olympic Game. The decision to make use of the mud carp ping pong balls was announced by the ITTF early today despite storms of protest staged by major ping pong players around the world, save those from China and Hong Kong. Major table tennis associations oversea are even threatening a boycott on the Game unless the balls be changed.
What is mud carp fish balls (lang yu kou)?
First of all, Mud Carp, or dace is a a kind of freshwater fish commonly seen in China, especially in the southern regions. They are available all year round but the best season is between November and January. For two reasons it's never been popular in Chinese restaurants: a) their price is too cheap because of the massive supply and b) there are too many small bones -- both posing some difficulties for the chef in presenting the fish. In the past, the only way to do this fish right is to peel away its skin and mince it to puree, like the people in the Shunde District did. The dace fish balls are hand made with this puree together with some starchy flour, ground pork, black moss, garlic mash and dried tangerine peels. One of the most popular ways to eat the mud carp fish ball is to deep-fry it, to which the chemistry with the starchy flour inside enables it to become one of the bounciest food in the world, in my humble opinion. Alternatively, it can be used in congee or hotpot. More still, as inexpensive food can always find its best shelter in the tin -- it finds its best partner in salted black beans -- and becomes a much sought after canned food. The dish "stir-fried Chinese lettuce (aka yaumachoy) with fried dace and salted black beans (豆豉鯪魚油麥菜)" is one tasty verdant darling you'll find over all daipaidongs of Hong Kong.
Chaxiubao's guide to the best deep-fried mud carp fish balls, or ja lang yu kou (炸鯪魚球) in Hong Kong:
A) For the bounciest and most traditional ones in Hong Kong
Law Fu Kee Congee and Noodles Restaurant (羅富記)
Special: Congees, mud carp fish balls congee and deep-fried mud carp fish balls
Address: 140 Des Voeux Road, Central
Tel: 2541 3080
Open hours: 8am – 10pm
Price: Dirt cheap, cash only
B) For the BIGGEST ones in Hong Kong (or for that matter, in the whole universe! Those to be used in the 2008 Beijing Olympic)
Ng Lung Noodles Specialists Restaurant (五龍)
Special: Soup with wontons, shark's fin dumplings and deep-fried dace fish balls
Address: 51 Lee Tung Street, Wanchai
Tel: 2893 7721
Opening hours: 7am – 11pm
Price: Very cheap, cash only