1. says:

    December 30, 2013 at 8:49 am

    What a lovely story behind these meatballs. It’s so amazing to think of all the stories behind the food that people produce..powerful stuff.

    I too associate New Year’s Eve with food. My family and I would always gather around a large spread of cheeses, breads and fruit; it was the only way I knew how to ring in the new year and it’s left me with so many awesome memories.

    Happy 2014 to you, my dear!

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Oh, that sounds like the perfect way to ring it in to me. I’ll take cheese over champagne any day! Thank you so much for sharing and happy 2014 to you too, lady 🙂

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 30, 2013 at 11:11 am

      How are grandmas/great-grandmas universally master chefs? My mom’s mom pretty much taught me how to cook Chinese food in the beginning (and my mom claims that she used to be a terrible cook when my mom was a kid!) The wisdom that comes with being a popo.

  2. says:

    December 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I looove meatballs and these look so flavorful it really makes me what to make some of my own, like now! lol By the way I’m dying to know, do you celebrate Chinese New Year (Jan 31st)?! I’ve notice you’ve posted several Asian inspired dishes. Well, I celebrate it and have been for the past 4 years (because of the bf) so when you described what the foods symbolize, I know exactly what you mean 😉

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      Ooh, please try them! They’re really so easy and so comfortingly tasty. And yes! We do! (That’s what I meant by “double-down” but now I realize I may have been unclear. Oh, those jokes. They run away from me sometimes.) Isn’t it the best? Just an excuse to eat as much Chinese food as you can stuff into yourself. And when I was younger, get monay. $$ hehe 🙂 Happy new year, Connie!

      • says:

        December 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm

        Oh no it’s not your joke, I must have over looked that detail. Oops. sorry lol
        I think the best part of the CNY is the red envelopes. I still get them because I’m not married (yet) but when we do, that’s when I have to fork out the cash. (yikes because he has a large family).
        Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 🙂

        • tworedbowls says:

          January 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm

          Oh man! I like your family/boyfriend’s family’s style! I haven’t gotten red envelopes in years… woe. hehe. Hope you’re having a wonderful start to your year!

  3. says:

    December 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I just love this post – what a special recipe! Your great grandmother would be so proud – they look so delicious! Bok choy is one of my favorite veggies – I can only imagine how delicious it must taste with the meatball juices all over it, yummmm!

    • tworedbowls says:

      January 1, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Ooh, you should definitely try this — bok choy steamed with these meatballs is my dad’s favorite way to eat bok choy, and it’s one of our favorite veggies too. 🙂 Happy new year, Cate!

  4. says:

    December 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Wow! Beautiful photos. That first photo is totally stunning. Meat can be so hard to photograph. I am so impressed. I actually have all of the ingredients for this, so maybe I’ll give it a try….Except green bean starch, which I have never heard of. I have to rotate all of my flours and starches for health reasons, so perhaps I should add it to my roster!

    • tworedbowls says:

      January 1, 2014 at 11:39 am

      I’d never heard of it either! The package my dad had didn’t have a single word of English on it (or Chinese, I think it was a Vietnamese brand!) so I don’t think it’s very common at all. I used cornstarch here because I couldn’t get to a Chinese supermarket, and that will work just fine. 🙂 And thank you so much for your sweet words — photography feels super challenging to me always, so I really appreciate that! Happy new year!! 🙂

  5. says:

    January 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Mmm, I love lion’s head meatballs. Looking at your pictures, I can almost smell it, that indescribably familiar aroma of the mingling of ginger and scallions and shaoxing cooking wine. So comforting. And ground pork! Why is it so hard to come by except at Chinese markets? (There’s one in Chinatown where I used to buy it, but the last batch smelled strange so I’ve been avoiding it ever since.)

    And I love your story behind this dish. Like your dad, mine learned how to cook just so he could make his beloved twice-cooked pork. He didn’t like the way my mom cooked it (not enough oil!) so he took over operations in the Sichuan food department, and peace has pretty much reigned in the kitchen ever since. 🙂

    Happy new year!

    • tworedbowls says:

      January 2, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Linda! There is SO much to love about your comment! First, oh my god ground pork. I can’t even. Surprisingly, the local supermarket has it sometimes, but I feel like it’s always when I don’t need it! So now I’m paranoid and hoard it even when I don’t have any immediate plans to use it, just because it’s there. I have two packs in the freezer right now. Normal. (I’m convinced this supermarket has a sixth sense for thwarting me when I need things. Like this bok choy — can we just talk about how the shelves were overflowing with baby bok choy for a solid week right after I made this? Of course.) And also, I am not a huge fan of the pork in Chinatown either — I got pork belly from there once and was a little skeptical, too. I’ve had pretty good luck with the frozen meat at H-Mart, though.

      And the story about your dad is absolutely hilarious. It’s the exact same with my dad and some quintessential Shanghainese dishes — like the can dou, which only he makes now, because, just like yours, my mom didn’t use enough oil. 😉 So funny. Happy new year to you, Linda!

    • tworedbowls says:

      January 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Thank you so much, Deb! 🙂 It’s kind of a new feeling sharing personal stories and memories, but also super fun. 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful start to the new year.

  6. says:

    January 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    These meatballs looks stupendous, and your photos are just getting better and better! They’re so welcoming. I can never figure out how to use umami either so I usually just avoid it. Ha! New resolution is to figure that out in 2014!

    • tworedbowls says:

      January 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      You’re so sweet, Courtney!! Thank you so much. Hahaha, as for umami… let’s just make a pact to use it in the weirdest ways possible. Hey, I dig your umami. Did you umami this enough? Your umami is showing. (OK, I’ll stop.)

  7. Anonymous says:

    January 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Reading the post and the comments/replies are even better than actually trying the dish 🙂

    Looking forward to your next one!

  8. says:

    January 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Holy moly. Those are making me hungry. The idea of bok choy flavored with meatballs is almost too much to take. How about you make me these and I’ll bake you anything you want?!

    Wonderful story about your family too. I’d love to hear more…

    Happy new year!


    • tworedbowls says:

      January 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      I so appreciate that, Sam! I couldn’t really decide whether to go with more personal details, so I’m glad to know that you liked reading it. 🙂 Especially since your stories are always so engaging. And um, DEAL. Meatball-making-pastry-baking party, just say the word. Happy new year to you too, lady! 🙂

  9. says:

    January 16, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I just love meatballs! I am so excited to give these a try very soon. I have never heard of these meatballs before but reading your story of how your dad was impressed at how authentic they were, makes me eager to try them asap. Thank you for sharing and some new inspiration! 🙂 You have a new reader as I just love cooking & learning about all things Asian

  10. Anonymous says:

    February 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Just made these tonight, and I will be doing so again. I served up a side of sautéed snap peas, shaved carrots, ginger and garlic, lightly salted. A great meal like this in roughly 40 minutes (my bok choy was done in about 30)? I say yes, again and again. Thanks for the story and the recipe.
    [NOTE: I did not add the 1/2t salt to the meatball mix, as the soy sauce was plenty salty to my taste, and I used 2 eggs.]

    • tworedbowls says:

      February 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      I’m so thrilled to hear that you liked them!!! And so glad that you adjusted to your taste. I’m always a little nervous about putting exact measurements on Asian recipes because at the end of the day, it’s all a little bit of improv — so happy and flattered you made these and enjoyed them 🙂

    • tworedbowls says:

      March 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      I usually just serve it with rice! My favorite thing about this is that it’s both a vegetable side and a meat main dish at once 🙂 so some rice is all I prepare in addition. What did you decide to go with? I hope they turned out well for you!!

      • says:

        March 16, 2014 at 9:56 pm

        They turned out unbelievably delish! I just did the rice, you are right, the bok choy was enough. I was concerned because my boyfriend doesn’t like rice unless there is a sauce of some sort involved, so I was trying to think of something different to assist. But these meatballs were so moist, they didn’t require anything extra! I’m tackling Chinese food this month as part of a New Year’s resolution and this was my Huaiyang choice. I did Szechuan last week! Any suggestions for Shandong?

        Thanks for the great recipe! We will be making it again!

  11. Steve Kwan says:

    April 13, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I had heard about the Lions’ head meatballs before and never had a chance to taste or make them. Made them the other night and the flavours reminded me of what my grandmother and mother made for special occasions. Thank-you for the recipe.

  12. says:

    August 2, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    My significant other’s popo use to make these. His mother makes them on occasion, but he says they aren’t close to the way his grandma made them. So I decided to look up a recipe for them and I found yours. We’ve used this recipe as our base 5 times and tweaked it slightly every time. Last time I finally got it to the density of his grandmother’s by using just one egg. We also only use one tablespoon of sugar, as his grandmother used Napa cabbage (which is sweeter). I’m making them again tonight. Thank you so much for a great recipe!

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