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Khmer Sausage @ Oakland's Sontepheap Mkt


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Khmer Sausage @ Oakland's Sontepheap Mkt

Melanie Wong | | Jun 25, 2009 01:40 AM

On our way to the Fruitvale on Monday, we stopped at Sontepheap Mkt to see what kind of SE Asian sausages might be found. Quite a few actually. In the freezer, Lao and Hmong-style, and on the cashier's counter, Lao style sour sausage. All of these were made in Rhode Island. Then in the back corner of the produce shelf, some gnarly, dark red links were piled up, unpackaged. These are the Khmer sausages, made of beef, fermented and dried, and not needing refrigeration. They're $1 per link and four links tied off per casing.

I asked whether these need to be cooked, and learned that I should fry or grill them. The links are as firm to the touch as an aged salami, but I was told that they get softer when cooked. At home I tried pan-frying, and when it didn't soften, I then added some water to steam it. Still no softer, but quite a bit of fat did render. The beef is coarsely ground and interspersed with chunks of fat. The seasonings have a slight sour taste balanced by a little sweetness, salt, and moderate spice. I can't quite identify the aromatic herbal character. The firmness and amount of fat is comparable to a Chinese lop cheong though these are chubbier links and completely different in flavor. I think I was probably supposed to slice it thinly and not try to cook it whole.

The cashier said that these links are made by Battambang and presented the restaurant's business card. Some other prepared foods at the counter from Battambang that might be of interest include shrimp fresh rolls, green papaya salad, noodles with curry sauce, and anchovy and fish paste (for eating with raw veggies). I bought a pint-size tub of the eggplant and shrimp paste for $5 that I was advised to have with steamed rice and some raw veggies. It's quite pungent and rather than the fermented shrimp I was expecting, this has the flavor and texture of ground dried shrimp.

We also had a chance to try the fresh jackfruit that can be purchased by the piece. It was not quite ripe.

This is quite a fully packed market and I was a little sorry we didn't have more time to study the crammed shelves. What else have 'hounds liked here?

850 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

Sontepheap Market
1400 14th Ave, Oakland, CA