Nombe's Odango, San Francisco's Best Balls (Non-Reproductive Class)

Nombe's rice balls are pressed

Yesterday's post about the World Testicle Cooking Championship in Serbia reminded SFoodie that we've been meaning to write about an entirely different class of ball: the odango ($5) at Nombe. While most odango are formed from glutinous rice flour, Nombe chef Nick Balla presses together balls of white rice, then skewers and deep-fries them just long enough to form a semi-porous crust. Then he grills the skewers, brushing them with a tare, or soy-and-rice-wine marinade. Served with a thatch of nori strips, the rice balls are chewy and salty-sweet, the marinade barely penetrating the surface. They're an ideal drinking snack, and carry little risk of making their eater gag.

Nombe: 2491 Mission (at 21st St.), 681-7150.

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