Thai sausage is one of our favorite Thai dishes. If you are a fan of western sausages then you may want to give Thai sausages a try. The taste and texture of these sausages are unique. They are traditionally home industry and there are a few special regions in Thailand famous for them. Previously we have covered our other favorite Thai dishes: Tom Yum noodles, Som Tum, and Boat Noodles. Now we will cover Northern Thai sausage in this article.
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Isaan sausage vs. Sai Ua sausage
There are two types of Northern style traditional Thai grilled sausage that is famous across the country.
First, Isaan sausage aka Sai Krok Isaan is one of the most famous foods from the Isaan region (North-Eastern part of Thailand). Other than the sausage, this region also prides itself on Som Tum, sticky rice, and Jim Jum hotpot. This Thai sausage is a fermented sausage, made primarily of pork and rice. Since it undergoes fermentation, it is no surprise that it tastes a bit sour. Sai Krok Isaan sausage normally goes really well with raw cabbage, sliced raw ginger and chilli padi / bird’s eye chilli. Having said that, you can enjoy this sausage as a snack, or as a full dish with sticky rice to go with the sausage. Isaan-style sausage is popular among the Thai population and you will find this Northern style traditional Thai grilled sausage being grilled and sold along the streets all across Thailand.
On the other hand, Sai Ua sausage which is the native sausage of Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand is a more herby, richer in spices kind of sausage. It is one of the most flavourful Thai sausages out there. The pork is mixed with aromatic curry mix and then grilled. You can enjoy this Thai sausage with sticky rice, fresh vegetables, crispy pork, or chili paste. Traditionally it is homemade food, but as it grows in popularity across Thailand, it is available in shops as well.
Thai sausage recipe: Isaan style
Isaan-style sausage is made from two primary ingredients, pork, and rice. However, these are mixed with garlic, salt, and pepper before fermentation. For every 500g of pork, you will need ¾ cup of rice, 1 head of garlic, and seasonings such as pepper, salt, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. In some variations, Isaan-style sausage also has glass noodles in the mix (which then you can reduce the amount of rice).
As we mentioned previously, Isaan-style sausage is a fermented type, and the duration of fermentation determines the level of sourness. For example, if you grill the sausage immediately after they are made, there will not be any sour taste but if you leave them to ferment for a few days then you can expect your traditional Thai grilled sausage will be sour.
Thai sausage recipe: Sai Ua style
Sai Ua is a more complicated sausage when compared to Isaan sausages. While Sai Ua is made mostly from pork, making one will require many more ingredients such as kaffir lime leaves, coriander, lemongrass, shallots, spring onion, fresh turmeric, dried chili, garlic, and other seasonings such as soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce.
While Sai Ua is popular and is preferred outside of its home region like Northern Thailand – great-tasting Sai Ua is relatively harder to find than Isaan sausage due to more complicated recipes.
How to enjoy Thai sausages
Both types of Northern style Thai grilled sausages such as Issan sausage and Sai Ua taste great by themselves, however, due to their strong taste – pairing them with some fresh vegetables, relish or sticky rice can help to elevate the taste.
Isaan-style sausages taste great with raw cabbage, fresh ginger, and fresh chili to add some spiciness. Sai Ua on the other hand which has a stronger spicy taste goes well with fresh green vegetables/corianders, ginger, chili, and peanuts.
Some Thais also pair Sai Ua with crispy pork and a special Northern chili paste called “nam prik num”.
Should you try Northern Thai sausages?
Yes, Northern Thai sausages are one of our favorite snacks/dishes! We generally love the spicy/herby Northern Thai food. Eating these sausages accompanied by vegetables/rice on the side seems like a simple dish, however, due to the richness in flavor and taste, it is very satisfying. We highly recommend you to try these sausages out the next time you visit Thailand!
Explore Thailand with us!
- Mookata: Thai BBQ and Hotpot in restaurant/buffet/at home
- Nam Jim Jaew: the delicious Thai dipping sauce & recipe
- Jim Jum hotpot: Thai-style spicy & sour hotpot
- Tom Yum Hotpot: A delicious way to enjoy Tom Yum soup
- Thai BBQ pork & chicken and the sauce
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