August 07, 2014

Taiwanese Sausages - An Unexpected Little Surprise

Sweet and Yet Savoury

There is something special about Taiwanese sausages.

And it is not just that they are often – normally? - served on a stick. That IS a nice feature though, especially for someone like me who doesn't eat much bread. It's not that I don't like bread now and then, keyword being now and then – but I like my sausage without bread and when it is served on a stick, that's exactly what you get; Sausage without bread. Although when you DO get it in bread it is not really bread either, in Taiwan the sausages are, if they are not served on a stick, served in a a type of bun that isn't really a bun at all, but rather a sausage, a light brown sausage – white, almost – which contains rice. It is a very tasty sausage which is used as a bun.
But that is not it at all.

Nor is it that the sausage comes with spicy sauces that you often paint onto the sausage; Wasabi , the green spicy Japanese horse radish sauce being a standard add-on to sushi, at least in the western world. I love the wasabi sauce as well as the red chilli sauce that comes with the Taiwanese sausages. But that is still not it.

Instead it is the sausage itself. It is not like any sausage you get in the west. Rather than being savoury, the Taiwanese sausages have a sweet flavour to it; in many cases this is said to come from the special wine that is mixed in to the sausage when it is being made. The flavouring and spices are also different to what we are used to in the western world; Where we use herbs the Taiwanese use their local spices – herbs don't grow very well in the hot and humid climate in Taiwan, it is only winter time and up in the mountains and hills the herbs are happy, much like the tomatoes; When the nights are as hot and humid as the days the tomatoes along with the salads don't grow. The Taiwanese sausages therefor contain very different spices – and I love them. Also, sugar is a part of the Taiwanese sausage recipes – and you can feel it. The meat is not as finely ground as you can see in some sausages in the western world, not the least the god-awful hotdog which may contain just about anything, as it is so finely chopped up that there is no way to tell what's what in it. The Taiwanese sausage doesn't have any of that, they have a different structure to them.

And I love them.

If you are a meat eater and you are in Taiwan, you need to try the Taiwanese sausages at least once, it is a part of the culture and a part of the adventure. You may not like it, not all do, but you should try it, if nothing else when you visit the night market, and stroll around; The sausage sellers are all over the place, much like the hotdog sellers at a football game – and the Taiwanese sausage makes an interesting snack, while you are waiting for the next meal...

On the Website for Taiwanese Food Culture you can read more about the Taiwanese Sausages

One day I am going to make my own Taiwanese Sausages. 


Tiffany said...

Yes! They really are delicious. Thanks for sharing and writing about Taiwanese sausages. Interesting bit about the herbs - didn't know about the difficulty growing them in Taiwan!

TravellingAK said...

Hi Tiffany, yes, it is quite fascinating! You can grow almost everything in Taiwan - but you have to chose the right time of year and the right location... There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that grow here that originally come from other parts of the world though, and it is also very very seasonal.