Chinese sausage, or “lap cheong”, is a generic name for dried and cured sausages that originated in China. It can be made with fresh pork, pork fat, livers, and sometimes chicken, and tends to be as sweet as it is salty, with a rich, dense, emulsified texture. Approximately 6 inches long, Chinese sausage is darker and thinner than Western sausages. The most common variety is made with pork and pork fat, but you'll also find other varieties made with duck liver or even beef.
Manufacturers are also starting to offer varieties reduced in fat and sodium; however, in the West, it is currently easier to find standard pork sausages. The flavor of Chinese sausage varies a bit depending on the ingredients used, but it generally tastes sweet and savory. It is a term that covers a variety of sausages from China, where they were already made between 300 and 500 A. . .
If you've eaten yang chow fried rice, you've tried Chinese sausages. It is also a common ingredient in sautéed noodles and clay pot dishes. I still remember my first bite of Chinese sausage. It was wrapped in a soft, fluffy bun that had been steamed. I had no idea what the combination of sausage and bread was called (I learned many, many years later that it's called lap cheong bun), but my taste buds didn't care. The melted fat from the sausage fell down my chin and my mother had to wipe my face.
When you go to an Asian grocery store to buy Chinese sausages, know that there are many types. You'll find the short ones, the thick ones, the thin ones, and the color can range from chocolate to a dull red. Shape and color define variety. Thin, dark sausages are probably made with pork or duck liver. The dull red ones with bright white spots are probably made with pork and pork fat. It's not easy to tell just by looking at it, especially when the labels don't include any English translation. It's best to ask the retailer to explain the differences between the sausages on display so you can get exactly what you want.
Dried Chinese sausages are sold in vacuum-sealed containers. Check the expiration date first and know that, unopened, sausages do not require refrigeration. Once you open the package and have taken the amount of sausages you need for a plate, wrap the remaining sausages tightly in cling film and store them in the freezer. Better yet, if you have a vacuum sealer, re-seal the remaining sausages. That way they'll last longer.
The easiest way to cook Chinese sausages is to cut them into slices and drop the slices with raw rice into a rice cooker. By the time the rice is ready, the sausages will be too. And since sausages get fat in the heat, your rice will smell and taste great.
Chinese sausages can also be minced and included in sautéed dishes. It is one of the traditional ingredients of yang chow fried rice. They can also be added to congee or arranged as a topping.
Easy Recipe for Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage
If you're looking for a quick and delicious meal to serve your family, we've included an easy recipe for fried rice with Chinese sausages. In Suriname, Chinese sausage is known by a Chinese word hakka translated as fatjong, fachong, fa-chong, fashong or fasjong in colloquial spelling. They are usually made locally; for example, many of the Chinese sausages sold in Canada are produced by several manufacturers based in Vancouver and Toronto.
Steaming Chinese sausage in sticky rice is very easy because you literally only put a few whole sausages in the rice and bamboo steamer. The easiest way to cook Chinese sausages is to curl up the links in the same pot (or rice cooker) in which you're cooking rice.
In the Philippines, Chinese sausage is an ingredient in some Chinese-Philippine dishes such as siopao bola-bola. While the links will vary in degrees of sweetness and dryness, the type of smoked and wrinkled Chinese sausage tends to be too dry to use instead of regular sausage.
Growing up Eating Kam Yen Jan
Growing up eating Kam Yen Jan at home with my parents and at my cousin's house, I also ate Chinese sausages at some of my favorite Asian restaurants such as TK Noodle.
Chinese sausage is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes from fried rice to steamed buns. With its sweet flavor and emulsified texture it adds an interesting twist to any dish it's added to.