Taiwanese Meatball (Ba Wan)

A Taiwanese friend of mine called me up before this South Arm Community Kitchen about the street food that she misses a lot that will be demonstrated by Vicky. It was a surprise call as I had invited her to join the community kitchen a long time ago but I did not hear from her since.


It was the above street food that excited my friend from Taiwan. It is the Taiwanese Meatball or known as Ba Wan in Hokkien.


I had seen this many times in a Taiwanese food show when we had Shaw TV. I missed that show since we switched to Telus. I have never come across this street food here yet. Does anyone know if we can find this Taiwanese Meatball here?


For the skins:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 400g yam flour
  • 6 1/5 cup cold water

For the filling:

  • 400g ground pork
  • 1 cup (about 8) dried shiitake mushroom, reconstituted
  • 1 cup (170g) dried bamboo shoot
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimps
  • 1 tablespoon fried onion
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

Marinates for pork:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder


For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

Tools required:

  • Steam baskets
  • Small bowls


Source: Vicky

Yield 15 meatballs


Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-5Combine rice flour and cold water in a saucepan.

Whisk until all the rice flour dissolved in the water.

Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-7Cook the mixture over medium heat stirring all the time until it starts to bubble and thicken like glue. This takes about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool down to luke warm.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-6To prepare the fillings;

Marinate the ground pork with the soy sauce, sugar, white pepper powder and cornstarch for 2 hours.

Soak dried mushrooms until soft, remove stems, dice.

Soak dried bamboo shoots for 20 minutes, then blanch in boiling water, dice.

Soak dried shrimps for 20 minutes, dice.

Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-9Heat a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir fry garlic and dried shrimps until fragrant.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-10Add mushrooms and stir fry another minute.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-11Add marinated pork and cook until pork is no longer pink.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-12Add bamboo shoots and stir fry for another minute to allow the bamboo shoots to release it’s flavour.

Season with cooking wine, soy sauce, five spice powder, fried onions and salt. Remove from stove and set aside.

Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-14Prepare the bowls by greasing with a few drops of oil.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-8Sift the yam flour.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-16Add the sifted yam flour into the sticky rice mixture which had cooled down a bit.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-18Initially, the texture will look coarse. Keep stirring.

Eventually, you’ll get a smooth paste.

Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-19Fill the greased bowl with 2 to 3 teaspoons of the rice mixture and smear the mixture to cover all the sides.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-20Fill with the fillings to the top.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-21Cover the filings with more rice mixture and ensure all the filings are covered.

Repeat until all the mixture and filings are used up.

Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-24Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the bowls in stackable steaming baskets and steamed for 15 minutes.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-30Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring, until thick and sticky. The sauce will thicken further after it cools down.
Taiwanese-Meatball-Ba-Wan-25When the steaming is done, remove from heat and let cool down for a few minutes so that the dough will be firmer.

Use a butter knife to loosen the meatball and turn it onto a plate.

Use a pair of scissors to cut an x on top of the meatball.

Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley and enjoy.

Vicky, thank you so much for demonstrating this Taiwanese street food in the South Arm Community Kitchen.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Crispy Lechon

    Wow that looks good. Too bad its very labour intensive. 🙁 I thought I read a blog post from Kevin of 604foodtography about this small eatery in Cambie that sells Taiwanese street foods. I’ll research it and let you know.

      1. Ben

        Ooops. I did not see your comment only after I had posted mine. OK, you beat me to it first, Crispy. 🙂 Ben

      2. Kevin

        Wow Crispy, you have good memory! There’s some other places around such as Liu’s as well.

        Now this post got me craving some, I actually didn’t have any this winter break when I went back……too busy eating other stuff.

        1. Crispy Lechon

          Hi Kevin, actually after I read your blog post on ba-wan over a year ago, I kept in the back of my mind as something I want to try. So thats why I remembered it right away.

  2. 4SlicesofCheese

    I was at the Taiwanese market on no.3 rd directly across from where Hons used to be. ]


    They recently installed new fridges there and they now sell Ba wan. It even includes the sauce!
    I have to say the best Ba wan I have had was in Taiwan :p

    1. Ben

      Hi 4SlicesofCheese: We went to Kou Hua today but we can’t find them. We looked twice over where the fridges are –> none. Maybe they are sold out. Ben

    2. Suanne

      Hi 4SlicesofCheese, a Taiwanese friend of mine told me that the Ba Wan from Kuo Hua Food is not good, thick skin and little fillings. Even her kid does not want to eat it. She said Liu’s is OK.

      1. Buddha Girl

        Yea…the ba-wan from Kuo Hua is not good, both brands. I bought both to compare. Pricey too!!!

  3. mimi

    Yuen Yuen’s Taiwanese meatball is pretty good, as authentic as it can be. It’s cheap, too. It’s only $3.5.

  4. Gloria

    Thanks for the recipe Suanne.
    I really miss my Taiwanese foods with many that I can’t find here, including Ba Wan (will try Yuen Yuen soon!).
    Will be trying out this recipe this weel. I can’t wait!

  5. Travis

    I’ve had this at Liu’s Taiwanese next to Richmond Sushi. It’s in a bowl with tons of sauce (3 colors) on it. That was before the remodel though…

      1. Travis

        Yes, that’s it. If I remember right, it was a bit too sweet for me there.

        A couple weeks ago my mom tried ask at YY Village if they have ba wan, and the chef came out to talk to her. They had no idea what she was talking about because they’re not from Taiwan (>_<)

        We had great ba wan at Henry's in Seattle though!

  6. Pepy @Indonesia Eats

    Good to know! Some regions in Indonesian call meatball soup as bakwan. Also, the name of bakwan in other regions can be translated as fritter. I should check for yam flour next time.

  7. buddhaboy

    This is one of Buddha Girl’s favourite. I did a half-ass version of one last year. BG and I will have to try the recipe as well as a few of the restaurants mentioned.

    1. Ben

      Hi BuddhaBoy: We went to try the Ba Wan yesterday. It wasn’t particularly an exciting dish for us. Perhaps it is the way it is made here. Ben

      1. Crispy Lechon

        Hi Ben, where did you try the ba wan? Is it at Liu’s?

        1. Ben

          Hi Crispy: We went to Yuen Yuen on Cambie since we had already blogged about Liu’s before. Yuen Yuen is a small bubble tea place and while they serve Ba Wan, they don’t have much on their menu, food-wise. Ben

  8. Shmoo

    Mmm… I like those dumplings. I’ve wondered before how they’re made. By the time they’re ordered from the street vendor, they’re already done steaming and are sitting in a vat of hot liquid to keep them warm.

    Corner 23 at Cambie and 23rd is one place in town that serves them. I haven’t tried them there, though.

    I think they get listed as some variation on “肉圓” if you want to search for them in secret menus. 🙂

  9. Joe

    Just had one today at Superwok downtown on Dunsmuir and Richards. There’s some crazy stuff going on there, keeping in mind it’s in downtown Vancouver and not on Kingsway, Richmond, etc.

  10. Jonny

    I was wondering if the Yam Flour was crucial? I have everything else.

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