A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Northern Thai in Western Melbourne

Posted date:  May 8, 2009

Buying chilies at Melbourne's Footscray Market

Phil said he wanted to make sai ua, the famous northern Thai sausage. I was skeptical. Phil had previously told me about Melbourne’s Footscray Market and its apparently amazing selection of Asian ingredients, but could we really make anything approaching an authentic northern sausage in Australia? Using Thompson’s Thai Food as a rough guide, we made a list of the ingredients we’d need and set off. Arriving at the market (pictured above), I was almost immediately converted: Footscray Market was every bit as well-stocked and hectic as any in Asia, and we had no problem finding virtually every last ingredient.

Arriving back home, and fueled by a constant stream of Little Creatures Pale Ale, we chopped the fresh herbs roughly:

Chopped herbs for sai ua, northern-style Thai sausage, Melbourne, Australia

and Phil fed this mixture and some pork through a meat grinder. As a test, we fried a bit of the mixture up:

Testing a bit of sausage meat, Melbourne, Australia

and were pleased to find that it was nearly spot on. After adjusting the seasoning slightly, Phil put the ingredients through a second run, this time filling a sausage casing:

Phil filling sausage casings to make sai ua, Melbourne, Australia

While Phil was grilling the sausage, I made two Mae Hong Son dishes: saa, a salad of pea shoots, and kaeng hang lay. I had brought with me a couple of the more obscure ingredients, but again, we were able to find everything we needed, including pork belly, at Footscray market. I marinated the meat a la Khun Yai’s recipe:

Marinating pork belly for kaeng hang lay, Melbourne, Australia

and let it simmer for about four hours until it was fall-apart tender:

Making kaeng hang lay, a northern-style pork curry, Melbourne, Australia

The weather was too cold to pretend we were in northern Thailand, but the flavours were pretty damn authentic.

A northern-style meal in Melbourne, Australia

8 Comments for Northern Thai in Western Melbourne

Hi Austin, what a feast you had!

Man, I’m jealous …

I just have to congratulate Austin on coming up with a menu where even the salad has pork in it.

[…] Austin Bush has been hanging out with me in Melbourne over the last week and we’ve been doing the sort of thing that food bloggers do when they run into each other: drink every single pale ale made in Australia and New Zealand; eat several times a day with no regard for socially accepted “meal times”; and cook food that takes regional authenticity to ludicrous lengths which he has amply documented on his Thai food blog. […]

Melbourne has come a long way foodwise!
Thank goodness for the Asian and European immigrants that brought the bewildering array of foods here 🙂

That second picture is pure eye candy as far as I’m concerned 🙂

That looks wonderful! Do you have a recipe for Sai Ua that you’d be willing to share? I recently spent 3 months in Chiang Mai and now wish that I had learned to make it while I was there!

Absolutely LOVE your photos!

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