Northern Thai Spicy Sausage
A variation of sai ua, a type of sausage originating in Chiang Mai, is a house specialty at Thai D-Jing in Old Gretna. Though sausage is usually associated with European culinary cultures, these zesty sausages became popular in Northern Thailand due to its proximity to Burma, a British colony.
At Thai D-Jing Chef Suda Oun-in, a classically trained Thai chef, uses beef in the fresh sausages she makes every other day rather than the traditional pork. Heavy doses of galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander root and seeds, dried chilis, garlic, and shallots give intense flavor. Traditionally, the abundance of herbs and aromatics were used to stretch the protein in the dish. The herbs would also serve to neutralize any microorganisms that may have been present in the protein prior to the advent of refrigeration. Oun-in explained that sausages in Thailand are often allowed to ferment for over a week before consumption. To mimic this flavor, she instead allows the garlic she uses in the sausages to ferment for a few days to achieve a similar flavor that is still in keeping with American food preparation practices. As is customary, Oun-in serves her sai ua with portions of raw garlic, ginger, and herbs. Northern Thailand has a cold climate, and the combination produces a warming effect on the body, while enhancing the ingredients already preset in the sausages.