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Best Recipe for Authentic Shanghai Lion's Head Meatballs

Updated on January 9, 2012
Shanghai meatballs. Tasty looking eh?
Shanghai meatballs. Tasty looking eh? | Source

Suggested Ingredients


The Shao Xing region in China is well known for producing food that has delicate flavors. This rice wine is no exception and will ensure that your lions head meatballs turn out delicious.


Want to learn how to make meatballs with some Asian flavor?

Shanghai, China is well known for its "lions head" meatballs.

These are mainly pork meatballs that are large in size. Most are made with lots of soy sauce so they come out darker in color and heavy on the soy sauce taste.

I'm going to teach you how to make white ones. They have a more delicate but still have a robust and delicious flavor.

You will need:

  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • ginger
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup rice wine
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose white flour
  • sugar


  • Put the ground pork into a large bowl.
  • Cut about an inch wide piece off the ginger. Cut off the rough skin. Then mince the ginger into small pieces. Add to the pork.
  • Clean and prep the scallions. Slice the bottom half the scallions lengthwise, so when you chop them, they will fall apart into smaller pieces. Chop all the scallions. Add to the pork
  • Add 1/2 cup of rice wine to the pork. I recommend Shao Xing Rice Cooking Wine for the best taste.
  • Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce. I recommend Pearl River Bridge Superior Light Soy Sauce.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste as you become familiar with the recipe).
  • Add 6 tablespoons of flour.
  • Add 1 egg.
  • Lightly mix with a spoon. The key is to be gentle. Do not mash at the meat or mix for too long. Do not squeeze the pork with your fingers. Gentle mixing will keep the pork juicy after the meatballs cook.
  • Form the meatballs with your hands. Take a scoop of pork and lightly roll into a ball with your other hand. You should only have to roll three to four times between your hands.
  • Place the meatballs into a medium pot.
  • Add two cups of water into the pot.
  • Add another 1/2 cup of rice wine to the water.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
  • Do not worry about mixing these in.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Then simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • At the end, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over the top.
  • And serve!


  • It's very easy to make fewer meatballs with 1 pound of pork. Just halve the recipe!
  • If you don't consume all of the meatballs in one sitting, and you put the entire pot in the fridge, the fat that comes out of the pork while cooking will form up. When you're ready to eat again, you can scoop off the formed up fat.
  • Try adding more water and proportionate amounts of cooking wine and soy sauce to make a soup. Add mung bean noodles and nappa cabbage for a warm and delicious meal!


I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe for white style Shanghai lion head meatballs. Tell me how it goes! I would love to hear from you.

What do you think?

Have you tried Shanghai lions head meatballs before?

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    • yyah profile image

      Kiwi Rio 6 years ago from New York, NY

      you're welcome!

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 6 years ago from USA

      Voted up, interesting, and useful. Thanks!


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