Chinese sausage is a delicious and versatile food that has been enjoyed for centuries. 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.
Chinese sausagecan be smoked and dried, or fresh. It can be fat or lean.
The variety made with pork and small cubes of fat is the most popular, but the best variety I've ever tried was made with duck liver. Due to its dryness and intense meat flavor, Chinese sausage is often used as a flavor component in other dishes. The links are cut into cubes and rendered until only a touch of the real sausage remains. You'll find Chinese sausage in turnip cake, dim sum carts, and various fried taro root concoctions.
Chorizo is Spanish or Mexican pork that is precooked and cured and comes in a variety of options. It's spicy and is often served for breakfast or as part of a larger meal. Sausage is raw meat seasoned with fennel or anise, resulting in a less spicy flavor. The sausage is usually pork or turkey meat.
Traditionally made Chinese dried sausages develop a pleasant and shiny appearance, which is why they are known as La Sausages. The Chinese don't follow fasting rules; however, it was much easier to process meat at low winter temperatures and produce sausages that will last well into summer. The confusion comes from different Chinese dialects; in the Cantonese dialect (the southern provinces) the sausage is known as Lap Cheong, but in the Mandarin dialect (the northern provinces) the sausage is known as La Chang. Chinese sausage takes on part of its red color due to the curing process in which it is marinated, salted, and smoked.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Chinese people really like to add monosodium glutamate (flavor enhancer) to meat and sausages. The important Chinese Thai community uses it in several Chinese dishes, as well as some Thai dishes such as Yam Kun Chiang, a Thai salad made with this sausage. If you visit any decent-sized Chinese market, you'll find an impressive variety of Chinese sausages, commonly known by their Cantonese name lap cheong. Goin Chong Chinese liver sausage is made with pork or duck livers; however, it is a dry sausage that is different from the sausage type sausage spreads so common in Europe.
It dries to make the consistency harder, perfect for fried rice, steamed on rice or simply to be eaten as an accompaniment to a glass of Chinese white wine. Traditional Chinese recipes, similar to Italian recipes for salamis, have been passed down from generation to generation without much understanding of the underlying processes. Some examples that are created in Singapore are Chinese sausages that are low in fat and sodium and even a version that is high in fiber.
Chinese sausage is tasty in its own right, but it's also a great addition to stir fries and other Chinese dishes. With its unique flavor profile and versatility, it's no wonder why this delicious food has been enjoyed for centuries.