Hiking food – have you tried La Chang or chinese sausage?

Finding protein to add to meals when you are hiking or bushwalking can be challenging. Without refrigeration, your options are limited to either prepackaged (like tuna), dehydrated at home or a pre-dried meat such as jerky or sausages like salami .

In this article we discuss using La Chang a dried, hard sausage originating in China. Usually made from pork with a high fat content, La Chang, it is normally smoked, sweetened, and seasoned.

La Chang - hiking food

Chris, one of our readers, contacted us and suggested La Chang might be a great addition to Food to Go and anyone’s hiking food menu.

So over to Chris and his La Chang ideas:

I don’t know if you have come across it – its a sweet chinese pork sausage that does not require refrigeration. It is found in supermarkets in their foreign foods section.  I guess it’s for people who cook meals on bushwalking trips rather than reheat them.

The way we do it is fry it with onion, garlic and ginger then add any available vegetables and soy sauce, serving it on rice as a stir fry. I guess the La Chang takes 10-15 mins or so to cook ( if you undercook it its rubbery). We find it a great meal for later in the trip when all the precooked frozen meals have gone. Lots of calories too with its fat content.

I have probably taken it on every bushwalk and ski trip since I was introduced to it on the Franklin 30 years ago.

We have the mindset that we should cut the weight in our packs ruthlessly but not the food. I can’t imagine living for a week on those foil sachets. A good meal to look forward to is important especially when things are difficult. People who are hungry get listless and depressed and then start making bad decisions. A great meal at the end of the day can really lift the spirits when everything else has gone wrong. Lightweight everything but not too lightweight on the food.

My wife reminded me we usually include some shitake mushrooms with it – they need soaking in the soy for a while but add a lot of flavour. If you soak them in water you can add the water to the pot as a kind of stock. These also good in risottos.

We  always take fresh garlic, fresh ginger, dried or fresh chilles and soy sauce. And olive oil. I’m a firm believer that bushwalkers should be trying to figure out how to increase the fat content of their meals rather than decrease it – fat has more than double the calorie density. I’m quite keen on sushi these days and there was a reference in the Bushwalk Tasmania board of someone producing Nori rolls on a five day walk – I was impressed – the pickled ginger is available in bags not needing refrigeration. The seaweed would probably take a beating though. Obviously it can be done.

I should mention that the spelling of Lup Chong varies a bit – I guess its a phonetic translation of something in Mandarin. (ed, we used the Wikipedia spelling here)

Thanks to Chris for a very interesting piece.

We will definitely try Chinese sausage on future trips!

 

Have you ever taken La Chang on hiking trips?

Do you have any other ideas on how to use it?

Any other food ideas? We would love your feedback, shoot us a reply below……..

Image: Modomatic via Flickr

Comments

  1. Luke says

    Very interesting, I was only shopping last night for a hike this long weekend and it is very difficult to find anything that would last multiple nights, so packet Tuna it is.

    I love cooking outdoors, you are spot on when saying it really lifts your spirits.

    Any idea where I could find this stuff around Melbourne City?

    • Frank says

      Hi Luke,
      Tuna? yep, a good standby…….
      If you are in Melbourne I would try Victoria Market. Have not been there for a couple of years BUT reckon there would be an Asian Grocery round about. let us know how you go.

      Where are you heading? Weather looks ok.

      • Luke says

        Good idea, will let you know how I go.

        Heading up to Feathertop, weather could be better, few showers but not that cold. Give me a good chance to test out some new gear.

        We need more long weekends :)

    • Brendan Jones says

      Hi Luke,

      I don’t live in Melbourne but I’ve stayed in Bentleigh and know there’s a couple of asian grocers on Centre Rd where I bought chinese sausages just recently. I reckon any half decent asian grocer would have them, and there’s plenty of them all around Melbourne if you’re not near Bentleigh…

      @ Pete I’m a big fan of lentils as a base for meals as well, especially curries, and they seem to make less mess and take less water on the stove than rice…but they definitely don’t cut it for fat!

      I like this guy Chris, he seems to be one of the few hikers I come across that don’t do dehydrated meals. I’m a firm believer that properly prepared and packed fresh food can (and does!) last a trip- no dehydrated meals. I find as long as I pre-plan and take the time to remove packaging things come in from the supermarket, and portion ingredients out to exactly what I need, it doesn’t mean a big sacrifice of weight and pack space over dehydrated meals. Snap-lock bags were designed for hikers, they only happen to work for school lunches as well 😉

  2. Pete says

    Hey, for protein (but not so much the fat) what about beans, lentils and quinoa?

    Pete-the-(mostly)-vegetarian

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