Fishballs with Special Manong’s Sauce

Fishballs with Special Manong’s Sauce

Whether looking for a quick snack or appetizer to pair with your beer, you can never go wrong with skewered street food. Like most street food, Filipinos enjoy them as a snack and pulutan (appetizer). Some even like to eat skewered street food with rice, such as Kwek-Kwek, Squidball, Kikiam, and Fishball. But whichever you like, skewered street food won’t be complete without the special sauce made by the Manong vendor. If you’re craving street food, read on as we share an easy homemade Fishballs with Special Manong’s Sauce recipe.

Fishball is a “tuhog-tuhog” or skewer delight, dipped in different flavored sauces, from spicy vinegar to sweet and spicy sauce. It’s a popular street food in the Philippines that is enjoyed by many locals for its affordable price. A fishball costs less than one (1) peso, which is very cheap. Since the Qing Dynasty, fishballs have been popular in Southern China. But Hong Kong made fishball an internationally popular dish. Then, Chinese immigrants brought the dish to the Philippines, where it was fried and sold by roadside vendors.

However, if you’re a clean freak, you probably won’t buy skewered street food from roadside vendors. Luckily, you can buy ready-to-cook fishballs and other street food from the nearest supermarket, like Kikiam and Squidball. Even if you’re not that fussy, cooking fishballs from the supermarket is ideal for gatherings or events, especially when drinking alcohol. By doing so, you can save money and serve more pulutan to your guests. Once done frying you’re favorite Filipino street food, it’s time to prepare the Special Manong’s Sauce.

This sauce is for fried street food appetizers. It consists of cornstarch, flour, muscovado/brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, shallot, and salt. Mix all these ingredients in water. To spice things up, add siling labuyo (chili) and ground pepper to give your sauce a spicy kick. There are other variants of this sauce, where vendors often add lemon or lime-flavored carbonated soft drinks. This ingredient makes the sauce sweet and tangy and gives a slightly sticky texture to it. If you want to try it, add a few tablespoons of 7up or Sprite.

Anyhow, the original Special Manong’s Sauce goes really well with the salty umami and slight sweetness of Fishballs. That’s why no matter where you eat, the sauce in each stall looks and tastes almost the same. But how do they do that? If you’re into street foods, I’m sure you also have a favorite Manong vendor, where you always happily buy your favorite snack. Although fishballs taste almost the same, the Special Manong’s Sauce certainly got you hooked.

Therefore, if you want to recreate your favorite Fishball sauce, you can follow this recipe to make the base. You can follow the recommended measurements to make the classic Special Manong’s Sauce. But if you’re unsatisfied with the outcome, you can add more ingredients, little by little, until you achieve the desired taste. You can even add 7up, Sprite, and chilis to tweak the flavor of your sauce. Also, don’t forget to fry your Fishballs until crispy. 

So what are you waiting for? Start making your Fishballs with Special Manong’s Sauce! Just combine, mix, and stir the ingredients together. Prepare your fishball sauce and enjoy your favorite snack anytime!

Source: Ang Sara


Fishballs with Special Manong’s Sauce


  • Manong's Sauce:
  • 4 cups water
  • cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 shallot finely chopped or minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • salt to taste


  • In a saucepan combine all manong's sauce ingredients, mix well until free of lumps.
  • Place in stove top then cook by gently simmering in medium low heat until sauce thickens.
  • Deep fry fishballs according to your liking, if using the Philippine fishballs fry them until they are really crispy.

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  1. How long can I keep this sauce in the fridge? I cut the recipe in half and it was still a lot.

    Didn’t have brown sugar and plain flour at the moment and substituted white sugar and glutinous rice flour instead. Still taste the same as how i remember it, just maybe a tad sweeter.

    Overall great recipe thanks!

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