What is a meat ball?

Meat balls are often an ingredient in wontons.

Meat dumplings are a variety of meatballs made with finely ground beef and flavoring most commonly eaten in the southern part of China. They are particularly popular in the areas around Hong Kong. Typically about the size of a walnut, they are similar in appearance to fish balls, but are darker in color. They also have similar uses as fish and shrimp balls and can be used in soups or stews or rolled up in a wrapper and cooked like dim sum. As the meat pulverizing process can be time consuming, beef dumplings are often eaten in restaurants or purchased frozen at supermarkets.

Some Chinese hot pot stews contain spinach or other leafy greens.

The texture of a beef ball differs from the texture of a typical meatball because the meat in a beef ball is blended into a fine paste. Most meatballs are made from ground beef, not blended, and are not ground to as fine a texture as that found in beef balls. The texture of the meat in a beef ball is more like chicken nuggets or mechanically separated processed chicken than typical ground beef meatballs.

Like fish and shrimp balls, beef balls are popular in soups and in the Chinese hot pot, a type of stew that is cooked right at the table. A pot of boiling broth is placed in the center of the table and the ingredients are placed in the broth and allowed to cook. In addition to the meatball, other common ingredients added to the Chinese hot pot include thinly sliced ​​frozen meat, seafood, and vegetables. Leafy greens like spinach and bok choy and different varieties of mushrooms are also popular ingredients to add to a Chinese hot pot.

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When used in soups, meat balls often accompany a similar type of broth. Fish stock requires a fish ball, just as beef stock requires the use of a beef ball, and mixed stocks often have different types of balls. A popular type of soup in Hong Kong mixes meatballs and fish balls in a mixed broth.

The ox ball is also a popular ingredient used in dim sum, a type of appetizer or small meal. It is often steamed or fried, most often in cabbage or inside a wonton or egg roll wrapper. The most popular way to serve a meatball in dim sum is to cook a marinated meatball on top of a large cabbage leaf. At a dim sum meal, diners would consume several dishes of dim sum until they had had enough. Dim sum are usually served on small plates and are designed to be eaten in one or two bites.

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