Food - Drink
Vietnam's Pork Chả Lụa Sausage Has 19th Century Roots
By NIKITA EPHANOV
Many Vietnamese foods have French influences due to colonization, from the baguette in a banh mi to the carrots, potatoes, and asparagus consumed throughout the country. French cuisine also influences chả lụa sausage, a lean pork product that's been popular in Vietnam for centuries, and is made with only a few ingredients.
Chả, also called giò in Northern provinces, is Vietnamese for "sausage," and the most popular type is chả lụa made with pork. Chả lụa originated in the 19th century and combines European sausage-making methods with Vietnamese ingredients, with the pork being flavored with fish sauce and garlic and steamed in a banana leaf.
The sausage's soft texture is held together with starch, and the meat is traditionally pounded in a mortar and pestle for several hours, though food processors are often used today. To make chả lụa, marinate thinly sliced pork in fish sauce, freeze for two hours, blend in a food processor with more fish sauce, then add tapioca starch.
The sausage can be rolled and steamed in foil instead of a banana leaf, and when sliced, chả lụa is a very popular banh mi filling, and also goes well with rice rolls, rice cakes, and bun bon hue, a soup similar to pho. You may be able to buy chả lụa at Asian grocery stores, particularly those specializing in Vietnamese food.