Thai Sausage: How to Make the Best Sai Oua from Chiang Mai

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This Thai sausage recipe is for Sai Oua, one of northern Thailand’s most famous foods. Easy to make, it combines minced pork infused with a blend of spices and herbs for the most flavor-packed sausage you’ll ever have. Travel to Thailand with just one bite of this northern Thai sausage.

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What Is Thai Sausage?

Thai Sausage Chiang Mai Sausage by Authentic Food Quest
Yummy Thai sausage from Chiang Mai

Sai Oua, also known as Thai sausage, is a northern Thai sausage and one of Chiang Mai’s, if not northern Thailand’s, most famous foods. It is also one of our favorite Chiang Mai traditional foods.

This Thai sausage is made from minced pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as chilies, garlic, shallots, and locally grown spices and herbs. 

This Thai sausage is called Sai Oua. The word “oua” means to “fill” or ”stuffed” and the word “sai” means “intestine.” 

So when translated to English, “Sai Oua” means “stuffed intestines.” In this case, the sausage is stuffed with minced pork and Thai herbs.

This northern Thai sausage can be very spicy depending on how it is prepared. The recipe calls for fresh bird chilies or chili powder and you can adjust the amount in this Thai sausage recipe.

The Origins of the Sai Oua – Northern Thai Sausages

Sausages Thai Sausage by Authentic Food Quest
Northern Thai sausage at the market in Chiang Mai

Sai Oua, also spelled Sai Ua is from northern Thailand with some saying the roots of these Thai sausages stem back to Burma or Laos. 

Interestingly, while exploring the local specialties in Laos, we discovered Laos sai oua, which is similar, but not as spicy.

In northern Thailand, this Thai sausage is revered. Sai Oua sausages are traditionally made and eaten at home. 

Although, you’ll find this flavor-packed sausage at local markets sizzling on a hot grill giving off its fragrant aromas.

READ MORE: The 22 Most Delightful Popular Thai Desserts to Indulge On

Discovering Thai Sausage or Sai Oua in Chiang Mai

Claire and Rosemary Making their first Sai Oua by Authentic Food Quest
So proud of our first “perfectly” stuffed sai oua sausages

While exploring the local food specialties in Chiang Mai, we fell in love with the northern Thai sausage almost to the point of obsession.

Eager to learn how to make it from scratch we asked locals for recommendations. A Chef’s Tour, a food tour company we partner with introduced us to Auntie Rod, for a cooking class experience. 

Auntie Rod is one of Chiang Mai’s most famous sausage makers and has been featured on the Gordon Ramsay Show. She is considered the “Queen of Sai Oua.”

For several hours, we had fun learning the ingredients and techniques to make traditional northern Thai sausage.

We used a mortar and pestle to grind and mix everything together. We also hand-stuffed pig intestine sausage casing for the first time, which was a comedy of errors.

And finally, we cooked the Thai sausage on the grill until it turned golden brown in color, cooked perfectly on each side.

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Thai Sausage Recipe – How To Make Sai Oua

Ingredients Thai Sausage by Authentic Food Quest
Ingredients for Thai sausage recipe

Making Thai sausage at home is not complicated and requires only a few key ingredients.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE TIPS: If you love Thai food and want to make other traditional Thai recipes, see our other favorite traditional recipes.

Thai Sausage Recipe Tips

How To Make Sai Oua Sausages Traditional Way vs Easy Way

Pestle and Mortar Thai Sausage by Authentic Food Quest
Use a mortar and pestle for maximum aroma

Traditionally, northern Thai sausages are prepared by hand from start to finish. The ingredients are typically mixed together using a mortar and pestle.

The easiest way to grind all ingredients together is by using a blender or grinder.

A blender or grinder shreds the ingredients which doesn’t guarantee maximum flavor and aroma release. But, it can process a higher volume of ingredients.

The pestle and mortar can only work with a small number of Ingredients but can grind it finer and keep much better flavors of the ingredients.

How To Stuff Thai Sausage In The Casing

Stuffing Sausages Sai Oua by Authentic Food Quest
Make sure not to overstuff the casings

Hog casings or pork sausage casings are the traditional choice for making Thai sausages.

You can find hog casings at your local butcher or meat shop. 

Alternatively, you can also have the hog casings delivered to your home via Amazon. 

When you get your pork casings, first rinse them to remove the salt. Open one end of the casing and it up with water like a balloon. Squeeze the water out and rinse the inside of the casing

To stuff the Thai sausages, a simple sausage stuffer machine makes the process easier and faster. 

If you don’t have a sausage stuffer machine, you can use a metal tube or funnel to stuff the casings with the sausage mixture.

Once the casings are filled, close both ends with twine and close with a tie. If you don’t want to make sausages, you can make patties or meatballs with the pork mixture instead.

RELATED: 10 of the Best Thai Cookbooks To Learn How to Cook Authentic Thai Food

How To Cook the Sai Oua Sausages

Grilling Thailand Sausage by Authentic Food Quest
Grilling the Chiang Mai sausage

In Chiang Mai, we learned to cook Thai sausages in the traditional way, which is on the grill.

Grilling, especially over charcoal adds the best smokey flavors to the sausages.

If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the Sai Ua sausages in a non-stick pan, though the flavors may not be the same.

How to Avoid Thai Sausage Bursting When Cooking

First Made Sai Ua or Sai Oua by Authentic Food Quest
Avoid cooking Sai Oua at too high temperature

The best way to cook northern Thai sausages is over low heat when grilling. This prevents them from exploding when cooking.

Try to cook them on the side of the grill and turn them every few minutes to cook them evenly. 

If you are cooking the sausages using a skillet, allow the sausages to cook over low heat until they are gently browned. 

How To Eat and What to Serve With Sai Oua Sausages

Chiang Mai Sausage Ready to Eat by Authentic Food Quest
Traditional presentation style on a banana leaf

In Chiang Mai, Sai Oua sausages are generally eaten with sticky rice and crispy vegetables like cabbage leaves, cucumbers, and fresh chilies.

At home, we recommend having Thai sausages with rice and vegetables or accompanying a fresh salad.

The presentation of Sai Oua sausages is particular and is part of the ceremony of eating them.

In Thailand, the sausages are sliced at a right angle and served on a banana leaf. 

As they are typically hot from the grill, you also have a stick to pick up the sausage slices.

How Long Can You Keep Homemade Sai Oua Sausage?

Thai Sausage Sai oua Recipe by Authentic Food Quest
Store your Thai sausage in the freezer for a month

Homemade Sai Oua sausages can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days after they are cooked.

In the freezer, the cooked sausages can be stored for up to 30 days.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE TIP: To go along with your Thai sausage, consider pairing it with a delicious salad from Laos. Get the recipe Lao Papaya Salad Recipe: How To Make The Famous Laotian Salad

Sai Oua Thai Sausage Step-by-Step Instructions

Mix Ingredients to Make Sausage Mixture

Using a mortar and pestle or blender, combine the lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, shallots, and garlic cloves until finely grated. Mix together with the pork sausage mixture until everything is blended together. 

Stuff Thai Sausages

Place a funnel or metal tube on one end of the pork casing and gently stuff the sausage meat. Do not overstuff it. Once you have a five to six-inch sausage link formed, tie the end using twine.

Cook The Sausages

Cook the northern Thai sausage using a skillet on the grill. Allow the sausage to cook between 20 to 30 minutes, gently turning it until it turns golden brown.

Thai Sausage Sai oua Recipe by Authentic Food Quest

Sai Oua: Thai Sausage Recipe

This Thai sausage recipe is for Sai Oua, one of northern Thailand’s most famous foods. Easy to make, it combines minced pork infused with a blend of spices and herbs for the most flavor-packed sausage you’ll ever have. Travel to Thailand with just one bite of this northern Thai sausage.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 10 links
Calories: 657kcal
Author: Authentic Food Quest



  • Start by rinsing the pork casings to remove all the salt, and run water all the way through the casings.
  • Soak the pork casings in warm water for about 1 hour before using them. They should be soft and slick making them easier to use.
  • While the pork casings are soaking, start making the ingredients for the sausage mixture.
  • In a pestle and mortar combine lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, shallots, and garlic cloves. Grind until everything is mixed well.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, pork belly fat, and mixed herbs together.
  • Season with sugar, fish sauce, and chili powder. Use your hands and mix well.
  • Let the mixture marinate until the pork casings are ready or at least one hour in the fridge.
  • Take one end of the sausage casing and attach it to the end of a sausage funnel or sausage stuffing machine.
  • Having an extra set of hands in the kitchen is helpful so that one holds the slippery sausage casing while the other one pushes the meat through.
  • Slowly stuff the casings into long coils. Ignore any air bubbles that form in the sausage stuffing process.
  • Once you have about 5 to 6 inches stuffed, tie a knot at the end of the sausage.
  • At this point, you can either continue stuffing the pork casings into coils. Or you can pinch off the casing every 5 to 6 inches to make sausage links. Don’t forget to tie the ends using twine.
  • Grill the sausages on low heat for about 35 minutes until golden brown.
  • Allow sausages to rest for 5 minutes before cutting up and serving


  • Grill the Thai sausages for the best flavors and aromas or you can also cook them in a skillet.
  • If you like spicy food, feel free to adjust the amount of chili powder in this recipe.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 65g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 300mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
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71 Comments on “Thai Sausage: How to Make the Best Sai Oua from Chiang Mai”

  1. 5 stars
    I have never tried thai sausages before. Sounds like it is bursting with flavors with all the seasonings and spices!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this Sai Oua: Thai Sausage Recipe, never hear of it before, but looks delicious!!! will try and make it some day. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I am not really big on spicy dishes, but I know that my fiance would love this. I will have to make this for him some time. 🙂

  4. The sausage you describe and show looks and presumably tastes superior to those I’ve purchased from a local Asian market. While I fully realize there is always a noticeable improvement going homemade over mass produced goods I’m at a loss to explain the off-putting overly fragrant, metallic, or “sweet” flavor of those I’ve eaten. Also, most packaged Thai sausages I’ve had are obviously colored to appear bright red. I’ve always assumed the strange flavors or use of spice was either as a preservative or to help cover the flavor of rancid meats and bacteria that happen in places with little refrigeration and the people had built up a resistance to their own food. What you’ve done here sounds delicious.

  5. I’m not even sure if I have tried Thai food but I really want to now! So cool seeing the process of making it. It looks like it was a fun and informative experience. I loved reading how you had some good laughs trying to make it. I’m sure I would have some struggles as well!

  6. I haven’t been to any food tour yet, but I will soon. I agree with you that asking locals about good food is the key to have the best experience. I like to be able to do what you did and make sausages from scratch

  7. I love how they prepare the Thai sausages with the intention of preserving them for a couple of days. Auntie Rod sounds like an absolute legend, so exciting ? I can see stuffing the sausages was NOT an easy task ?, well done for practicing and getting it done – the final product looks delicious! ?

  8. I have been to Chaing Mai and Luang Prabang. But as a pescetarian, I have tried neither Thau Sai Oua nor Lao Sai Oua. I have enjoyed reading your post though. And, I absolutely loved vegetarian Khao Soi in Chiang Mai.

  9. I never heard of Sai Oua before (as I never been to Thailand or tried Thai food) but I am glad you said it was a sausage otherwise I would have thought it was a Thai curry. Looking at your experience, it looks harder to make than what I thought it would be. However would love to try it now as I do like my sausages.

  10. Thai sausages look cool. Nothing like making your own food in foreign land and having it too. Never knew the amazing ingredients that go into the making of sausages.

  11. Auntie Rod must be an amazing cook! I do LOVE Thai food, I’ve contemplated getting some Thai cooking classes, even if it’s just to make a decent red Thai curry. It looks like you had an amazing experience.

  12. Northern Thai sausages look pretty tasty and would be fun to make at home next time we have a barbeque. I’m not sure about the using casings made from real pig intestines though!

  13. We are so sorry we missed Chiang Mai on our visit to Thailand. I was good when I heard minced pork and herbs. The chili mixture would probably me an issue for us. Even the less spicy ones. We probably would like the Laos sai oua better. So good that you got to meet Auntie Rod on your adventure to learn how to make Thai sausage. I am sure the whole process took some practice to get good at the stuffing.

    • That’s too bad you missed Chiang Mai, it is truly the jewel in the north of Thailand. Perhaps next time. Meeting auntie Rod was a treat as was learning how to make the authentic sai oua sausages. A fun experience for sure.

  14. So interesting that I found this post today! Our local thai restaurant has been selling Thai sausage lately and they have been posting lots about it. Then I was looking through blogs I like and found your post! So timely.

  15. That looks amazing! I love the spices that you can get another person in the world that I cannot get here. If I could I would travel the world just eating food.

  16. No I haven’t had this type of sausage before and not sure where I would even start to look for something like this around here where we live. Does look delicious and we like our sausage.


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