I’m playing a game of Telephone with a Thai-style Chinese sausage salad.
A fortuitous junction of ingredients and circumstances drew me to this particular dish. First, I happen to have some incredible lap cheung from a recent trip to San Francisco. The partially dried, wizened little tubes of sweet, fatty pork bits are a new obsession of mine. Any novel ways to cook them up gets my attention.
I’ve also been hording a small bottle of the best fish sauce I’ve ever had, from our last outing in Vietnam. In the back of a Saigon market, a tiny, 132 year old lady (I’m guessing here) pressed the thick, bubbled-glass bottle into my hands with a huge smile and a quick hug. I felt like I had adopted a child. It’s been part of my secret kitchen arsenal ever since but I like to have inspirational dishes to use it with.
Finally, as the other blogs mention, this is a good hot weather dish. Since it is currently 132 degrees (I’m not guessing) here in Austin, I was immediately interested.
This salad is the perfect blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. It’s also quick, easy and super satisfying. Don’t get too bogged down in the details though. All of the proportions are really just recommendations. (Find the full recipe here or here.)
Since I was just cooking for me and the wifey, I only used one cucumber and a couple of sausages. You can scale it up or down really easily.
I also made some ingredient substitutions. I used dried arbol chilies and a Hungarian hot wax pepper for the heat. Not traditional, but tasty. I also used some palm sugar instead of white sugar for a little more caramely depth.
Man this was good. It really showed off the lap cheung but I couldn’t help but think that any number of other items would work great as well. If you don’t have sausage you could just as easily use some strips of steak or pork, or even serve it with some grilled fish. Mmm.