Bola is our word for “ball”, so literally, bola bola is 2 balls. But what it really means is any kind of “meat” balls… so it could refer to meat, fish, chicken, beef, squid, mushroom, etc.
The bola bola that I knew consisted of 2 kinds – the fried one and the processed one that was usually floating in chicken soup! It was a bowl of comfort!
The simplest kind is the one with fish or chicken stock and fish balls, with chopped spring onions as garnish. The more elaborate ones have shredded chicken, noodles, pechay, sometimes even mushrooms, and several kinds of balls.
The first thing I always do is boil chicken breast with onions, salt and ginger ti make the stock. The stock is strained of impurities and the chicken is shredded and put back into the stock. The stock then is reboiled and the balls are added. When the balls float to the top, it is time to put in the pechay (wombok). The soup is ready!
To take it one step further, the soup can be ladled into a bowl with parboiled egg noodles to make noodle soup!