If you ask me what ingredients are always in my fridge, Chinese sausage (lap cheong) is one of them! There are many types of sausages across China. The most well-known sausage is the Cantonese style which has over 50% market share in China. The Cantonese style sausage is commonly made with fresh pork meat and fat, chopped or ground, preserved with salt, soy sauce, sugar, and alcohol in an animal casing, and dried in the sun. It’s usually uncooked and can last about 3 months in the refrigerator.
In the States, you can find Chinese sausage in any Chinese grocery store. They can be categorized into two types: soy sauce flavored, also named “bai you chang (白油肠)” and the other one is made with pork and/or duck livers. For those who have tried Chinese sausage before, I recommend getting the soy sauce flavored type. The brands that I often buy are Kam Yen Jan and Sun Ming Jan.
Choosing Quality Sausages
Quality sausage should look bright and lively with a natural maroon color and has a dry tight casing. There should be bits of fat throughout the sausage. Note that the sausage made with liver is darker (brownish color) than the one made without liver. And the extra lean version is also available if you are on a diet. If the sausages appear to be dark, have uneven bits distributed throughout the casing (not likely in the States), soft casing, or significant sour odor, don’t buy it.
All of the brands in the States are produced domestically or in Canada, not imported from China. If you are in Hongkong or Guangzhou, stick with the name brands like “Wing Wah (榮華)” or “Huang Shang Huang (皇上皇)”.
How to Cook Chinese Sausage?
Just like the sausages in other countries, Chinese sausage is high in sodium, but also much sweeter. So when you pan fry the sliced sausage, make sure to keep stirring over high heat so it doesn’t scorch.
It’s often used as a flavor component, and not eaten alone. Due to its sweet and intense savory flavor, the Chinese often eat the sausage with steamed rice, stir-fried rice, or vegetables for extra aroma and fragrance. It’s also one of the most common ingredients in Chinese rice dumplings, such as zong zi (粽子), lo mai gai (糯米鸡), or turnip cake (萝卜糕). Here’re some popular recipes that are using Chinese sausage in everyday Chinese cooking.
Here’re two Chinese sausage (Lap cheong) recipes that I make very often: