How to make fishball sauce that tastes just like manong’s

Street food is enjoyable, no matter what country you’re from. They’re affordable— nay, cheap— filling, and tasty. Just as there are stalls at practically every corner, there are just as many choices when it comes to street food. In the Philippines, that includes squid balls, fried kikiam, bright orange kwek-kwek, isaw, and betamax, just to name a few. A common favorite? Fish balls.

Fish balls are popular among Filipinos because they’re piping hot and soft— with a slightly toasted exterior that encases soft, fishy dough. What makes a fishball ten times better? The dipping sauce!

Surprisingly, no matter which stall you visit, their sauce tastes the same. While there may be sweet or spicy variants to choose from, the very appearance and base are similar. How do they do that? Certified Foodies knows, thanks to a tip from their neighborhood vendor in Navotas. It can’t get any more authentic than that!

Check out the recipe here:

Photo from Certified Foodies

Fish Ball Sauce Recipe – Just Like Manong’s!


  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 Tbsp of cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp of Silver Swan soy sauce
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 siling labuyo or chili pepper (adjustable depending on how spicy you want your sauce)
  • 1 tsp of salt

(TIP: Some users recommend adding a few tablespoons of Sprite or 7up. You might want to do this if you want to further tweak the taste of the sauce)


  1. Away from the heat, mix your water, cornstarch, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a saucepan. Don’t turn on the heat just yet because the cornstarch won’t dissolve properly in hot water.
  2. Once the dry ingredients are fully dissolved, set the heat to medium. Stir often until the mixture boils.
  3. Add in the garlic, onions, chili, and salt. Lower the heat. This is when you can start frying your fishballs in a separate pan. That way, the fishballs will still be crunchy by the time you finish making the sauce.
  4. Continue mixing until you ALMOST get the consistency or thickness you prefer. Turn off the heat, and place the sauce aside. The residual heat will continue to “cook” the sauce, so don’t let it get too thick, unless you want it to have that consistency.
  5. Transfer to a bowl or jar (Certified Foodies recommends a deep jar, like a mason jar), and serve along with your fish balls and skewers.

(TIP: The sauce works well with squid balls, fried kikiam, and chicken balls, too!)

Miss fish balls yet?

(Cover Photo from Certified Foodies)

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