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honey garlic meatballs

August 11, 2010
I’m a glutton for punishment.   When I come down with a case of wanderlust, generally brought on by crappy weather on the home front, I look at old vacation photos and think about how much I loved that particular trip and think about how great it would be to time warp myself back to that moment.  Vacations always seem like a lifetime ago, yet the memories are still so vivid.
This past week, I was flipping back through our photos from Cambodia and our amazing 2 weeks there at the beginning of the year.  Like so many of my vacations, many of the photos were food-based.  From spiders to French food, they really have to the edible world covered in that country. Two our my favorite meals in Cambodia were at restaurants in Phnom Penh owned by the restaurant group, Friends International.  I bought their cookbook before I left and this recipe is from it.  It won’t bring the sun out and it doesn’t come close to enjoying the real thing in Cambodia, but it’s good recipe and the type of dish I was incredibly surprised to eat in Southeast Asia.
ps.  this photo really stinks and I’m sorry for that.  I swear they’re much better looking in person.
honey garlic meatballs
from Best of Friends cookbook

for the meatballs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 g ground pork
  • 300g ground beef
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 4 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • spring onions, for garnish

for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce


  1. Fry onions until translucent.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Wet hands and mix together all meatballs ingredients.
  3. Form the mixture into small meatballs (1 oz).
  4. Heat remainder of olive oil in a pan and add meatballs to shallow-fry on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. Drain on paper towels.
  6. To make the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients and heat in frying pan (I added the garlic first to soften for 2 minutes, then everything else).
  7. Add the meatballs back and simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
  8. Garnish with spring onions.
  9. Serve with white sticky rice.
11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2010 9:58 pm

    That sounds absolutely delicious! I’m going to have to try these out!

    • August 11, 2010 10:05 pm

      Thanks, I hope you do! The flavors work really well together. I recommend going for a bbq sauce that isn’t overly sweet as your best bet. Enjoy.

  2. August 11, 2010 10:05 pm

    I don’t care about the photo! I still makes me salivate!
    May I ask how many servings this gets you?

    • August 11, 2010 10:07 pm

      Ah! Excellent question. I would say this gives you four decent sized servings. Depending on how hungry everyone is, you may even have a few left over.

  3. August 12, 2010 7:02 am

    The first thing I said (out loud) when I saw your title and picture was “Oh yes please – hmm, yummy”. Sadly I am out of ground beef (mince meat as we call it) so this recipe will have to go onto the back-burner for a day or three but fear not, they will be made and enjoyed before the end of the weekend.
    🙂 Mandy

  4. August 12, 2010 10:42 pm

    It’s refreshing to see something other than your typical italian meatballs. These have definitely caught my eye. Thanks!

    • August 12, 2010 10:44 pm

      Thanks, Amy! They’re definitely a departure from the traditional meatball marinara. Hope you get the chance to try them.

  5. Claire Bennett permalink
    February 4, 2011 5:18 am

    No way, I LOVED Friends restaurant and in particular these meat balls! I’ve been kicking myself for not buying the recipe book while I was there – specifically for these meatballs – ever since I got back. Which was in 2006. I’ve even considered ordering it and paying the extortionate postage costs to England, just so I could have my meatballs!!! Thank you so much…. 🙂 Does it have the raspberry and lime daiquiri recipe in there too?
    PS As a thank you, I will make a donation to Friends International, which is a great charity doing great work for Cambodian street kids. 🙂

    • February 4, 2011 10:34 am

      Hi Claire-You are very much welcome for the recipe and thank you for making the donation to Friends International. The work that they do in Cambodia is truly admirable and you can tell that everyone that they reach takes such pride in their work. I’ll dig out the cookbook this weekend to see if the raspberry lime daiquiri makes an appearance. Something tells me it does. If I find it, I’ll email it to you directly. Until then, enjoy the meatballs!

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