Manong Fishball Sauce Recipe

Filipinos love food. In the past, I have blogged about the Filipino Boodle Fight which showcased a number of Filipino dishes being shared together in one massive serving over the dining table. I also shared my Fried Rice Recipe. But that’s just one of the things Filipinos like to partake. One of the things I love in the Philippines is you can see food almost everywhere. Even if you’re stucked in the middle of traffic, you will see vendors selling different kinds of food, you name it – burgers, candies, bottled water, juice, soda drinks, roasted peanuts, chicharon (pork crackling), and many more. But that’s not the only things you can have. If you go to the sidewalks, you can see a lot more choices of street foods.

One of my favorites of these street foods is fish balls. I really have no idea how they are made but they’re really cheap and taste good. They are fried and put on a stick and they you dip them on a rich, brown, sweet sauce. Actually, I think all fish balls, at least those which are sold on the streets and not home-made, are just created equal. What makes one superior over the other is the sauce, and that’s what this post is all about.

I cook this sauce not just for fishballs. It’s an all-around sauce for me for other Filipino street food - kikiam, crab balls, kwek-kwek, and many more. Interestingly, I cook this particular batch to have a sauce for Takoyaki, a Japanese snack with wheat-based batter filled with meat, in this case, little octopus.

So why call it Manong Fishball. Manong is a Filipino term used to address an adult man, which we don't know personally and are usually in their 40s or 50s. It is commonly used to call So Manong Fishball refers to a man selling fish ball.

Let's now proceed to the details.


  • Four (4) cups of water
  • Two (2) tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • Three-fourth (3/4) cup of raw sugar
  • Three (3) tablespoons of soy sauce
  • One (1) tablespoon of vinegar
  • Three (3) tablespoons of corn starch, dissolved in two tablespoon of water
  • Two (2) cloves of garlic, chopped into small pieces
  • One (1) medium-sized onion, chopped
  • One (1) tablespoon of cooking oil
  • One (1) teaspoon salt
  • One (1) small red chili, chopped (optional)


Pour the oil in a pan. Heat the pan on a medium heat and caramelise your onion. Set aside when done.

Mix water, flour, raw sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar in a small pot. Stir well until fully dissolved.

Put the pot in a medium heat. Continuously stir the pot until it is nearing to boil.

Add the cornstarch. You may use more than what is listed if you want to have a thicker sauce. Continue to stir until it thickens.

Set the heat to low. Add garlic, the caramelized onions, (chilli), and salt into the mix. Continously stir for another five minutes.

Serve hot.

If it is too much to consume in one go, you can halve the recipe. I myself always cook this much. I just let it to cool down then put about half to a air-tight container and put it in the fridge. It may last for another 5-7 days.

If you check other recipes for fish balls, some of the things that made mine a bit different is caramelizing the onion. I preferred caramelizing them bring out more of its flavor and add its unique sweetness. Also, I add vinegar which you won't find in other recipes. This is to add a bit of sourness to the sauce. In this particular batch, I did not add the chili as I cooked this for my wife, and she doesn't like spicy food. If you prefer a hotter version, you can use a much hotter chili variety like habanero or scotch bonnet.

Enjoy the recipe and I appreciate your feedback by leaving your comments.

A Little About Me
Please feel free to follow my account if you like my post.