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

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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