Thai food: Chiang Mai Sausage (Sai ua)

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ June 24th, 2014. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Thai food.
Chiang Mai Sausage

Spicy or not so spicy Chiang Mai Sausage … the choice is yours

Chiang Mai Sausage

It’s not often in South East Asia I come across a substantial amount of pure meat. Granted sausage isn’t technically that either but it can be very tasty and meaty if you know what to look for. In this case head to North Thailand and seek out Sai ua. Or, as it is commonly known, Chiang Mai sausage.

What is Chiang Mai sausage?

There are many variations of Sai ua even within Chiang Mai’s touristic old city. From supermarkets to butchers the most common, and best, place to find Chiang Mai sausage is at a night market.

Chiang Mai sausage from a market stall

Chiang Mai sausage from a market stall

You can’t help but notice the wooden skewers propping up single portion sausages or the circular curls of longer sausages. Each one made from a blend of minced pork meat, herbs and spices. Spices invariably include chili in amble doses so do ask for “Not spicy” if that’s what you are looking for.

Other variations of sausage include thin vermicelli stuffing (this is so good), rice, lemongrass, peppercorns and the list goes on.

Where to find Chiang Mai sausage?

Sai Ua is found all over northern Thailand. From supermarkets to night markets you can pick up a ready to eat sausage for a few baht.

These days throughout Thailand what is now popularly known as “Chiang Mai sausage” is becoming more widely available. So no, you don’t have to go all the way to Chiang Mai just to eat Chiang Mai sausage!

This is an additional post featuring food in Thailand


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Speak your mind, all opinions welcome - leave a comment below

13 Great responses to Thai food: Chiang Mai Sausage (Sai ua)

  1. Stuart says:

    Love me some of those! I’m curious if they fry or grill these?

  2. Charlie says:

    Looks like they know how to make sausage in Asia.

  3. Mike says:

    Those big chunks of chilli look a bit too much for me.

  4. Derek says:

    Ma, I never knew they made that over there. Great stuff mate

  5. Anna's World says:

    Not a fan of sausage but I’d be curious to see what this Chiang Mai sausage would be like. Sounds spicy!

  6. Debs says:

    Really like what you are doing here. Something for everyone. Including Thai food which we adore! Thank you!

  7. Jeff McNeill says:

    I have to say there is so much wrong with what you write about Sai Ua sausage. I guess you need some kind of content for the website, but it is just too bad it is vapid and uninformed.

    1. It is not called “Chiang Mai Sausage”
    2. It is widely available in Northern Thailand (and Northeastern Myanmar) which is why it is called “Northern Sausage” by Thai people
    3. Rice is not included in Sai Ua, that is a completely different kind of sausage called Sai Graub Khao (with glass noodle is Sai Graub Wunsen). This is an Isaan sausage (widely available throughout Thailand) and not Northern Sausage.
    4. The best place is not at a night market, though you can find it there. Also this can be found in morning markets. Basically you want it fresh, so go where it is freshest. If the local night market is preparing them fresh for the evening then fine, but if not, look elsewhere.
    5. It does not cost “a few baht”, but rather the cheapest I have found is 15 THB per sausage. It can cost a lot more than that as well. Mostly it is sold by weight.

    • Sigh. By the tone of your comment it seems you are one of those people “living in Chiang Mai” with not too much to do.

      “1. It is not called “Chiang Mai Sausage””

      Yes, as I wrote it’s called Sai Ua but like it or not Chiang Mai Sausage is its more common term for tourists “visiting” both Thailand and Chiang Mai. Otherwise I’d have to write a small book on the item and every little additional name given to it depending on the mix of ingredients and region it has been made.

      2. It is widely available in Northern Thailand (and Northeastern Myanmar) which is why it is called “Northern Sausage” by Thai people
      Yes as above.

      “3. Rice is not included in Sai Ua, that is a completely different kind of sausage called Sai Graub Khao (with glass noodle is Sai Graub Wunsen). This is an Isaan sausage (widely available throughout Thailand) and not Northern Sausage.”

      “Other variations of sausage … ” < << Get it?! "Other variations"

      “4. The best place is not at a night market, though you can find it there. Also this can be found in morning markets. Basically you want it fresh, so go where it is freshest. If the local night market is preparing them fresh for the evening then fine, but if not, look elsewhere.”

      Well we’ll agree to disagree here. It sounds more like you are speaking from an expat perspective here. I’ve certainly found the sausage in morning markets, supermarkets (raw & cooked), but mainly I’ve experienced sausage in evening markets which are generally speaking more popular with tourists.

      “5. It does not cost “a few baht”, but rather the cheapest I have found is 15 THB per sausage. It can cost a lot more than that as well. Mostly it is sold by weight.”

      Again this sounds like you are coming from an expat perspective. So we’ll have to agree to disagree again. I’ve only ever seen the sausage sold by weight when buying larger portions – usually to take home or eat in Styrofoam containers. I’ve seen small sausages for 10 Baht (outside Tops on Huai Kaeo rd during weekend market). I start on this website at the lowest price so people can work up from there. I’ve also generally stopped mentioning exact prices as people “hang on” to the exact price and then say they didn’t get it for that price (sans barter etc). So rough indications are given.

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