I was talking to my hairstylist a few weeks ago about food. Did you think I would talk about anything else? Anyway, I told her that I really wish I could get my hands on some Sai Krok Isaan (fermented/sour Northeastern Thai sausages). I can’t remember the last time I had any and I wanted some BAD!
Sai Krok literally means sausage. Isaan is the northeastern region of Thailand. So in case you were wondering what Sai Krok Isaan means, it’s sausage from the northeastern region of Thailand. 🙂 The sausage is made with ground pork and rice. Different recipes have different ingredients. You’ll see recipes that call for garlic, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves to name a few. The rice is what helps the sausage ferment and become sour. Sausage makers will hang them at room temperature for a number of days for the fermentation to take place. I’ve heard that using sticky rice will make it more sour and jasmine rice will make it slightly sweeter.
You’re probably wondering why I would want to eat sour sausages, but until you’ve had these babies you won’t understand.
So, when I was complaining to Nita about my lack of Sai Krok Isaan intake in America she immediately said that I could get Sai Krok Laos or Laotian Sausage instead. Tina, another hairstylist in the shop, knows a Laotian lady who makes and sells sausages. I’ve had Sai Krok Laos before at the Buddhist temple and it’s pretty similar to the Thai version so I was immediately placing an order with Tina. Get me some sausages!!! If I can’t get what I want I can at least get something similar.
According to Wikipedia the Laotian version of Sai Krok is made from
coarsely chopped fatty pork seasoned with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, cilantro, chillies, garlic, salt and fish sauce.
For twenty dollars you get four packages of five. I ordered twenty dollars worth from Tina and I think she misunderstood my excitement to mean that what I really wanted was forty dollars worth. I have sausages for days!!!!
Look at all the kaffir lime leaves throughout the meat. Yummy.
The best way to eat Sai Krok is to grill it. I don’t actually own a grill so I could not cook it the way that you normally would. Buying a grill is on my list of to dos. I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. I keep finding other things to spend my money on so a grill isn’t a priority with me.
I thought about grilling them on the stove, but opted to broil them in the oven instead. I didn’t want to have to deal with all the smoke and splatter that comes with grilling meat on the stove. They don’t look too bad, right? I’m telling you right now though it would have been better with the nice char on the outside from a grill.
Look at that glorious display of fatty porkiness!!! The Sai Krok Laos was really good. It was fermented, but not as sour as we would have liked it to be. I assume it’s because there was no hanging in room temperature involved for the fermentation to fully take effect. It did have a robust flavor to it. A little more sweet than the Thai version, but still really amazing after not having this type of dish for so long. You can definitely taste the aromatic ingredients.
The accompaniments of this dish include raw cabbage, ginger slices and Thai bird’s eye chili. I’m not crazy enough to chase this down with a bird’s eye chili, but the cabbage and ginger added great flavor.
I still have so much sausage left. I froze all, but one package. I’m keeping that one in the refrigerator in hopes that it will ferment and enhance the flavor. We shall see if it does. I’m crossing my fingers. I don’t even want to try the room temperature fermentation. With my luck I’ll end up with food poisoning.
I’m closing this with a vlog post by Mark Wiens, a huge foodie that lives in Bangkok, Thailand. He has a blog and YouTube channel dedicated to food and travel. I subscribe to his channel and love watching him eat his way around Asia. In the video below Mark shows you what Sai Krok Isaan is all about. So jealous!