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Lap Cheong (aka Chinese Sausages)

I've seen those Chinese sausages at Costco, but have been reticent to buy them since I'm not sure what to use them for. Are they a versatile ingredient? How do you use them?

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  1. Chinese sausages are quiet versatile in Chinese cuisine. They can used as part of a stir fry just like any meat. They can be prepared along with rice when cooking rice (mix them together and just cook). They are essential for some Dim Sum dishes like the Lotus Leaf Wraps:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5375...

    I think the easiest way to use them is to simply slice them and stir fry them with some veggies.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I've never had them at a restaurant, but use them at home. They have a consistency of a dry salami, but with slightly sweet taste. They keep for ever in fridge. I prefer the ones without liver. Mostly I use them in soup and fried rice.

      1. re: paulj

        You can also dice and mix them into Chinese meatloaf.

        1. re: paulj

          Do they keep REALLY forever in the fridge??? I have an unopend package that I've had for a YEAR. I live in a 'magic house' (lordy, I miss that man sometimes) but have wondered about those sausages. Opinion?

          1. re: c oliver

            Most (if not all) of the unopened packages are shelf stable without refrigeration.

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I prefer to lay them on top of the rice before the water is absorbed into the rice bed (i.e. when there is still a little bubbling water above the level of the rice) then allow the rice to finish cooking - making sure to let the rice continue to steam with the lid on in the customary way after shutting off the heat.

          Besides what others have mentioned here - a couple of "homestyle" ways to use it:
          Steam them in a shallow metal dish (I use the enameled ones you can get from Chinese markets/grocers), with some soy sauce drizzled over it. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms if you like.
          Cut up and add to a beaten egg mixture (w/ oil) then steam in a metal dish to make a kind of savory custard, drizzle a little soy sauce over it at the end + some chopped scallions/cilantro if you like.

          They're used in lots of dim sum dishes as optional ingredients as well, not just those where they are de rigeur... depends on the place and the chefs! :-)

          1. re: huiray

            :) Yes, I cook these Chinese sausages along with rice in clay pots. I just use my Chinese sausage today for stir-fry just after reading these posts.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              i love the lop mei bo zai fan combo of chinese sausages/pork belly/salted duck.

              1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                :) Really/ Lop mei, huh? I guess I am just so used to clay pot rice (as opposed to noodel) with sausage, salt duck (waxed duck :) or what not. I am less of a pork belly guy, but I enjoy nontheless.

            2. re: huiray

              My mom used sliced lop cheung to top simple steamed egg custard with a soy glaze and chopped pork cake. I would think you could use them any way you can use other sausage. Lop cheung hot dogs!

          2. They're addicting. Great in fried rice, in addition to what's been said above. I made up a whole package for our contractor and the plumber and they devoured them, though they'd never had them before. They went on and on about how good they were (more so than they did the home made bagels and cookies and everything else I fed them). I also like them w/ poh veh, rice porridge because the flavor is pretty strong. If I'm using them, I have to make twice as many as I need because I know I'll be eating them as I go.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              Sounds like you served them whole. How'd you fix 'em please?

              1. re: c oliver

                I've never done it before this way but I followed the directions and steamed them. I didn't like them as much that way, much prefer pan fried. I cut them into bite sized pieces and served w/ toothpicks. I was surprised at how much they liked them.

                1. re: chowser

                  I was cooking some quinoa for breakfast the other day. I laid one sausage on it and just let it cook away. It was terrific. I'm so glad I found this thread.

            2. Wow, thanks for all these great replies, hounds! I will pick up a package next time I'm at a Chinese grocery store. Lots of fun new ideas!

              1. I love them for breakfast along side garlic-fried rice & over-medium fried eggs. It's a Hawaiian staple much like Spam. Slice 1" thick on a diagonal, place in saute pan with 1 few TBS. water, cover and steam over medium heat until water has evaporated. Continue cooking uncovered to slightly brown. Drain on paper towel. Great diced in fried rice too. I also make an Asian-Style Gumbo that is delicious especially if you like bok choy. Make a medium-brown roux with peanut oil & flour, add sliced onions, and equal amounts of minced garlic & ginger. Add stock to desired consistency and 1" chunks of sausage. Let simmer for 15 minutes to allow sausage to soften and cook down flour. Season with salt & white pepper. Finally add washed & dried baby bok choy that you've halved or quartered. Cook just long enough to wilt the bok choy. Serve over steamed brown jasmine rice.

                5 Replies
                1. re: letsindulge

                  Asian-style gumbo!!! Amazing. That sounds like a great recipe, such a good balance of healthy/hearty/delicious. Did you come up with it on your own?

                  1. re: operagirl

                    It IS delicious and something I came up with when I had a batch of roux in my fridge. I actually toyed with the idea of marketing ready-made roux at one time. I did forget the addition of butterflied shrimp that is added at the same time as the bok choy. You can also make a stock of the shrimp peels to use in the dish.

                    On a side note I peeked at your profile and saw that 2 of your favorite restaurants are in SC. I lived in Aptos (still have the place but currently back on this side of the hill in SV). Earlier this week had lunch at Malabar/Asian Rose on Front Street. Food was good but I miss the variety they had at the lunch place on Pacific. Especially their seitan & tempeh dishes. Haven't found any place like it here in the S. Bay. Have you?

                  2. re: letsindulge

                    Hmm, I'm seeing a "mixed grill" of lap cheong and Spam! I'm loving this thread. Good ideas for something I honestly didn't think had this many uses.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Funny. I hadn't mentioned this thread to Bob but he requested Spam and eggs and rice for breakfast this morning!

                  3. Don't make them like they used to.
                    I remember when they had huge cubes of fat in them.

                    30 Replies
                    1. re: monku

                      Uh oh...the fat is what makes it SO tasty. I pretty much stick with the Kam Yen Jan brand that is available at most if not all larger Asian markets. I have tried the chicken version in trying to be more health conscious but never mind, I'll stick with the pork. Admittedly am curious about other brands. Which do you like?

                      1. re: letsindulge

                        Just checked and that's the brand I have. Don't worry; one link has 21g fat :)

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Is that too much or too little? Actually, something to think about, pound for pound is that worse or better than bacon -- in term of fat?

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Not for that reason (ha) but when I open a package of bacon I throw out the packaging and rewrap in plastic wrap so I don't have to tell you :) That's quite fatty though. WTH do you think it tastes so good?

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I feel an ethical obligation :) to give the fat comparison :) TWO strips of bacon have 7 grams of fat; ONE lap cheong has 22. Damn, I"m SO sorry I looked.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  But isn't one lap cheong heavier than two strips of bacons?

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Another thing to take into account is how dessicated the sausages are vs. bacon. Maybe it'd be more useful to look at the ratio of protein to fat to truly make a valid comparison?

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Just that one lc is equivalent to SIX slices of bacon! It's not going to stop ME from eating it. I just didn't want anyone to think that it's not good due to lack of fat :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        i really didn't need to know the fat content! when i eat home made bo zai fan i probably have two entire lcs, plus most of a strip of salted pork belly and most of the skin off of a salted duck leg. if one lc link has 21g of fat, the strip of pork belly must contain five to ten times that amount.

                                        1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                                          Like Operagirl accurate suggested, some of these high numbers are due to the drying/dehydration process. Much water is removed from Chinese sausages. Same for the Chinese salted duck.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Don't get me wrong. It's not going to stop me or slow me down from eating them. But it was rather rude to realize that one is equivalent to six slices of bacon. Dehydration? So what? It is what it is :)

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Oh yes. You are correct. I think pound for pound a Chinese sausage has more fat than bacon as you have pointed out. I was just trying to say the original piece probably is no fatter than a bacon.

                                              Come to think of it, I am a little more surprised now. Most of the bacon I see in supermarkets have about 1/2 to 1/3 of it made up of the fat. So do I squeeze 6 times that amount of fat into a skinny Chinese sausage? Was the original sausage 6 times as big? I need to look into this a bit more this weekend when I head to Chinatown.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Just as long as there are no scientific tests, okay??? :)

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  No scientific test. Just want to see the nutrient tables from the Chinese sausages. I bought mine in separate pieces, so there is no label. I want to see the label (if there is any) on the original package in the stores.

                                                  I do know there are the so called "lean Chinese sausages" and the so called "White Oil (Fatty) Chinese sausages". I wonder how different are those too.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    I went to Chinatown and checked out ~10 different Chinese sausages ( Lap Cheong) for nutrition content. Kam Yen Jan, a very well-known brand mentioned by monku, has more fat content than other brands. Its white oil (fat) version has about 22 g of fat per sausage. On the other hand, most of the other brands have lower.

                                                    I bought a full package of the Orchard (Ke-You 奇有) brand partly because it was on sale and partly because its has a decent reputation. I have yet to try the Orchard sausages I bought from last week, but will do so tonight. Interestingly, this brand has lower fat content then most. I bought the "grain alcohol" favor which has 6 g of fat per sausage. The “hot and spicy” and “soy sauce” favors also have 6 g of fat, but they don’t inspire me to buy them. Orchard’s fat sausage version has I believe 14 g of fat which is lower than Kam Yen Jan’s 22 g. Orchard’s lean version has 5 g of fat per sausage. Two photos are attached for the sausages I just bought.

                                                    I also bought Oscar Mayer Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon last night – also because it was on sale. It has 7 g of fat per slice, but keep in mind that these are the thick bacons. The normal version has about 4 g of fat.

                                                     
                                                     
                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Good job! I guess I better eat my high fat ones really fast so I can get others when next in SF or NYC. I know you'll report back when you do (double blind) taste tests :)

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        What's the weight of each sausage? Kam Yen Jan are 46g; looks like the Orchard ones are 33g. How about the bacon?

                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          Thanks C Oliver and Paulj.

                                                          Paul, the Oscar Mayer super thick bacon I bought weighs 18 g per slice. So I guess it take about two super thick bacons to get the same weight as a Chinese sausage.

                                                          So, Kam Yen Jan fat sausage has 22 g of fat for a 46 g sausage (48% fat by weight)
                                                          Orchad sausage has 6 g of fat for a 33 g sausage (18% fat)
                                                          Oscar Mayer has 7 g for a 18 g bacon slice (39% fat)

                                                          P.S.: Thanks Paul. I didn't know Kam Yen Jan sausages are 46 g.

                              1. re: letsindulge

                                Back in the old days there used to be visible chunks of fat in each slice. I usually pick up that Kam Yen Jan brand, seems to be available everywhere.

                                There are some Vietnamese brands that are pretty good (locally made in the LA area) if you're going to eat it basically plain and not mix it in anything. The Vietnamese kind are not dried sausage like the Chinese style, but fresh and need refrigeration.

                                1. re: monku

                                  I usually get "Kam Yen Jan", but I just picked up some new ones (Ke-You) because they look nice and the store owners praise them. I guess West coast vs East coast. Ke You is made in NY.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    The stuff I still remember in my mind's eye were store brands, hanging in long ropes or on string loops in pairs or more from bamboo poles. Next to the lap yook and lap ngap. All in the open air. :-)

                                    As for more modern times and packaged stuff, I've never paid attention to the brand name. I look for stuff that has a "good appearance" and feel (to me) so far as I can determine through the packaging. Pity there's no 'sniff test' anymore.

                                    1. re: huiray

                                      I know what you are talking about. But many of the these are also made by big manufacturer too (not made by mom and pop). Here I am including a photo of the Chinese sausages I have just bought this weekend.

                                      The ones on the left are liver sausages (Ke-You brand), the middle ones are the regular sausages (Ke-You brand), and the right ones were hanging out in open air as you can see the small rope. I believe these are made by Kam Yen Jan, a very large manufacturer. If I am correct, Ke-You (奇有) is a much smaller company than Kam Yen Jan. So who is the real microbrewer here? :)

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Heh. Good to know!

                                          I was remembering shops in C'Towns in SE Asia, old places with wooden shelves and shopfronts, with all that stuff hanging out for sale. :-)

                                          A very concentrated bunch of lap cheong stalls in this vid, but perhaps this is amusing to see... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvRedh...
                                          :-)

                                          1. re: huiray

                                            Cool. So many different favors and kinds in that video. Definitely looks like mom and pop store for that one. Awesome.

                                          2. re: huiray

                                            Mow Lee in San Francisco Chinatown is probably one of the best around...yes they still come on string sold by the pound.

                                            774 Commercial Street, San Francisco, CA 94108-1803
                                            (415) 982-5767 ‎

                                            1. re: monku

                                              Man! I wish I'd known about that when I lived on Nob Hill last year. Yet another Chinese ingredient field trip to add to my list.

                                        2. re: monku

                                          I've bought some Lao and Mong sausages from the frozen section at HMart. These were US made fresh sausages. The dominant flavors were lemon grass and ginger.