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It was good, but was it Cha Lua?


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Visiting New Orleans' Hong Kong Market on the Westbank, I purchased something in the prepared foods department that I don't know what it is -- even now -- even after I've tasted it. It has a cylinder shape and it was wrapped with leaves then tied, and I suppose either boiled or steamed after that. (I thought it was something like joong, but with the different shape, I had no idea what would be included in the rice). Well, it's nothing like joong. It's either a meat or a meat substitute. It has the shape of a salami, but looks and tastes like an American bologna. What am I eating? :huh:

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There's a language problem. Even when I order the banh mi, I have to point to the sign at the one that says $2.50 (instead of $2.00). I know I want the one with the meatball, but she doesn't understand when I ask. Same problem when I ask anyone there about anything. I'm not complaining -- it's just a fact. Typically I buy something interesting and find out what it is later. It's easier that way. :raz:

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is this thing chinese  or vietnamese?  no idea what you mean but i think it might have been cha lua, pork sausage.  a photo would have helped ;)

I googled cha lua, and the following picture is exactly what it looked like -- the one in the middle, except that it was wrapped in green leaves. It was very processed and tasted, well, like bologna.

http://www.kamkwokfood.com/images/Original.jpg

Edited to Add: (Silk sausage sounds waaaay better than bologna :)

Wiki says this

Chả lụa

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Sliced chả lụa served over bánh cuốn, and garnished with fried garlicChả lụa is a Vietnamese food, also known as Vietnamese ham or Vietnamese sausage.

[edit] Etymology

The name chả lụa is a plain description of its characteristics: chả means sausage, and lụa means "silk" in Vietnamese, as the texture of the sausage is smooth like silk. Northern Vietnamese call it giò lụa, a different word that also means "silky sausage".

[edit] Production and consumption

Traditionally, chả lụa is made of lean pork, potato starch, and good nước mắm (fish sauce, usually made from salted mackerel). The pork has to be pounded until it becomes pasty; it cannot be chopped or ground as the meat would still be fibrous, dry, and crumbly. Near the end of the pounding period a few spoonfuls of nước mắm are added to the meat for flavour, but salt, ground black pepper, and sugar can also be added. The meat is now called giò sống, meaning "raw sausage," and can be used in other dishes as well. The mixture is then wrapped tightly in banana leaves into a cylindrical shape and boiled. If the banana leaf is not wrapped tightly and water leaks inside while it is being boiled, the sausage will be ruined. The sausage has to be submerged vertically into boiling water, and typically for a 1 kg sausage it takes an hour to cook. When making chả lụa by hand, a common way to tell if it is well cooked is to throw the sausage onto a hard surface; if it bounces, the sausage is good.[1]

The most well-known chả lụa comes from the village Ước Lễ, Thanh Oai, province Hà Tây, northern Vietnam, where people pride themselves as professional chả lụa makers. When cooking chả lụa, the villagers of Ước Lễ light a stick of incense with the length equal to the circumference of the sausage's cross section; they believe that when the incense has completely burned, the sausage is well cooked.

Correctly-made chả lụa can be stored at room temperature for about one week.

During the initial wave of Vietnamese immigrants to the United States in the mid-1970s, banana leaves were difficult to find and, thus, Vietnamese chefs substituted aluminum foil for banana leaves, a habit that continues today.

The sausage is normally sliced and eaten with bánh cuốn, bánh mì, or xôi, or braised in fish sauce and black pepper with other meat dishes. If fried, it is called chả chiên.

Edited by PopsicleToze (log)
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aha! :) i guess the mystery is solved?

i was amazed to find out the Bavarians [in this case specifically Munich. actually, every Bavarian town/butcher/housewife in Bavaria has their very own versions.] make something strikingly similar which they call 'leberkaes'/'liver cheese [however, contains neither liver or cheese.] well, i like them all :D

iirc, both the VN and Bavarian versions contain head meat [VN version also contains fish sauce, obviously.]. whatever that means... some meat in the oink's head. miam miam... ;)

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