Amazing dishes to make with Chinese sausage

If you've ever encountered a Chinese market, you've likely seen plastic packages of skinny red sausages speckled with fat. While this sight may seem disturbing at first, reader, understand that Chinese sausage — called lap cheong in Cantonese — is upsettingly delicious. While the Anglo name of this variety of meat has the word "Chinese" in it, the moniker actually covers a wider range of cured and smoked sausages widely available in many other Southeast Asian countries, including Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. While you might see varying levels of dryness and different types of meat combinations, most Chinese sausages are made with delightfully fatty pork and taste addictively sweet.

If you're in the market to purchase Chinese sausages, you're best served if you have some idea of what you want to use them for. As they do range in taste and texture, you might, for instance, discover that the smoked varieties of Chinese sausage are too dry to use as a direct substitution for standard sausage. These require a good soaking in order to reinvigorate their flavors. Since these sausages possess intensely concentrated flavors, they might be too sweet or salty for some people. I've personally used them as the main component of many dishes, but they can easily be incorporated as a sweet and salty component in dishes starring tamer ingredients, too. At dim sum, you can often find bits of Chinese sausage cooked into turnip cakes or slices nestled inside glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves.

As you taste and experiment with cooking Chinese sausage, you'll undoubtedly find your own ways to take advantage of its unique flavors. To help get you started, here are some ideas for the types of dishes that sing a little more gloriously when you add these unique Asian links. Happy cooking.

Rice dishes

Chinese sausage and rice make a natural pair as the two balance each other wonderfully. The bold flavor of the sausage functions as a way to season the plainest bowl of rice and lends sweet-salty accents to a vegetable-filled wok of fried rice, in both cases enhancing the dishes beyond belief. I am, of course, partial since the first meal I was allowed to cook on my own involved Chinese sausage in all its delicious fabulousness. This meal made with sausage, eggs, rice, soy sauce, and chili sauce remains one of my most relied-upon comfort foods. Ah, I digress. You can combine Chinese sausage and rice in pretty much any way you like, but here are some recipe ideas I like, should you need them.

This recipe from Cathy Ha shows you one classic way to use Chinese sausage, cooking pieces of it into a fried rice. If you have more time on your hands, try this recipe from Serious Eats. This classic dim sum dish of glutinous rice gets some of its savory, sweet flavor from Chinese sausage. This easy recipe from The Hong Kong Cookery makes Chinese sausage the star by steaming it with white rice. Two ingredients, one meal. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Pastas

If you think of Chinese sausage as having all the alluring powers of bacon and more, you'll begin to understand how it's kind of perfect paired with pasta. While I'm not normally a big fan of fusion dishes, I can't get enough of the sweetness that Chinese sausage brings to a bowl of creamy pasta noodles. The layers of texture and barbecue adjacent savoriness have helped me to come around. Whether you swap it in for bacon in classic carbonara or caramelize pieces with garlic and toss with linguine, Chinese sausage lends these traditional Italian dishes loads of umami flavor, depth, and complexity.

This recipe from I Am a Food Blog turns a standard pasta carbonara recipe into something extraordinary by using Chinese sausage instead of regular bacon. Thumbs up. Try this easy linguine recipe from The Silver Chef when you want to boost the flavors in your plain old pasta dinner. Or check out this simple recipe from Cookpad. Chinese sausage is paired with mushrooms and spaghetti for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Stir-fry dishes

Chinese sausages are perfect for stir-fry dishes, as they tend to complement and help to flavor vegetables and other meats without overwhelming them. Moreover, the sausages lend sweet complexity and enough saltiness that you can probably use less soy sauce for the seasoning. Their fatty bits get rendered and keep the mixture moist and tasty for the duration of the high-heat cooking. As stir-frying tends to require that you cook foods over very high heat using a relatively small amount of oil, the ingredients could dry out before you're finished. Problem solved when you throw in bits of Chinese sausage. Need some stir-fry inspo? Here you go.

Take a cue from The Hungry Australian and make this immensely satisfying stir-fry dish for your next meal. All the heavy-hitting Asian flavors come to play with Chinese sausage. This recipe from Viet World Kitchen brings together vibrant green garlic and sweet Chinese sausage for a winning dish that keeps it simple. Try this recipe from BBC Good Food if you feel like stir-frying Chinese sausage with some eggy noodles. (You definitely feel like it.)

Pizza

Chinese sausage pizza seems obvious, but I actually didn't discover this glorious combo until I tried it at one of my favorite NYC dives. Since these tasty links are sweet, salty, and approximate pepperoni when sliced, they can be used in much the same way. In whatever dish you would deem appropriate to enjoy with pepperoni, you should do so with Chinese sausage just as easily! Pizza is certainly at the top of my list. Salty meats on crusty carbs will always be a yes in my book.

This recipe from The Hungry Australian tops a spinach pie with Chinese sausage slices for extra oomph and I approve. This pizza from Cut n Clean combines clean kale with wholly indulgent Chinese sausage for a pie that pairs classic pizza flavors with distinctly Asian seasonings like hoisin sauce. And you can always count on Cookpad to deliver an easy recipe that gets to the heart of the matter. Make this ASAP.

Stuffing

Change up your stuffing game when you start adding slivers of Chinese sausage to your go-to concoctions. Sure, Thanksgiving is prime time for making stuffing, but why not make this seasonal dish on the reg, especially if you get to add incredibly delectable sausage to it? Cubed bread (or rice), spices, herbs, and decadently fatty Chinese sausage soaked in flavorful broth seems like the kind of thing we should all be partaking in more often. If you need further convincing, check out these recipes.

This twist on Thanksgiving stuffing from Farm to Table Asian Secrets swaps bread for a mixture of regular and glutinous rice and uses Chinese sausage to flavor it. Brilliant! This take on stuffing from Savory Experiments is mostly traditional, save for the Chinese sausage, of course. Try this recipe from Yahoo; it mixes Chinese and Italian sausages for a stuffing dish that's ridiculously savory and nuanced.

With eggs

Unsurprisingly, Chinese sausage and eggs go together like a dream. The sweet and salty flavors of the links balance the rich yolk and and mild whites, making them particularly well-suited to each other. Whether you incorporate slices of Chinese sausage into your go-to morning scramble, make them a part of your next omelet filling, or enjoy them in a steamed egg custard, you won't be disappointed by the wonderful melding of flavors that takes place when these two ingredients come together. Can't imagine how to pair these sausages with your standard egg dishes? Here's some help.

This recipe from The New York Times keeps it simple but no less delicious. This steamed egg custard is rewardingly smooth, rich, and savory with the addition of Chinese sausage and scallions. Your regular old scrambled eggs are about to get a major upgrade with this recipe from Domestic Dreamboat. Pungent fish sauce, scallions, garlic, cilantro, and Chinese sausage add a Vietnamese-inspired twist. And this recipe from My Wok Life keeps it simple with a quick omelet with Chinese sausage and a dash of fragrant sesame oil. This one's easy enough to whip up on your most hurried mornings.

Hash

Give your standard potato hash some much needed life by making good use of Chinese sausage. This dish traditional contains chopped meats, potatoes, and spices — which is all great, don't get me wrong! However, even the best culinary inventions could use new breath every so often. By adding Chinese sausage to the hash equation, you're saying yes to lots of goodness: incredible savoriness, barbecue adjacent sweet-salty vibes, and all-around food happiness. Here are a few recipes that might speak to you.

This meaty hash recipe from Desktop Cookbook combines Chinese sausage links with ground pork, ham, mushrooms, salted turnips, and water chestnuts for a hearty meal that will keep you sated for hours. This recipe from Lynfred Winery incorporates both Chinese sausage and salmon, making the hash surprisingly complex and flavorful. Hell yes to innovative dishes. Use Chinese sausage in place of standard pork sausage for this recipe from Taste of Home if you want to add some extra oomph to a classic breakfast hash.

I hope these cooking ideas inspire you to visit your local Chinese groceries in search of Chinese sausage links the next chance you get.