DIY Nem Chua

This can probably go under Home Cooking, too. Has anyone seen the nam powder from the below article in the LA area?

As they mention, using the powder is more of a cure than a ferment but I’d love to give it a try.


Was that @hppzz mentioned in the article?!

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Raises :raised_back_of_hand: lol. Yes it was. I think the author and guest chef makes a great point to compare it to European charcuterie as a way to introduce to people.

Traditionally nem is cured and fermented (sometimes with addition of cooked glutinous rice similar to issan sausage to speed the process) just like European and Italian salami tradition except that salami is then dry cured further (probably because southeast Asia doesn’t have the right temperature for it).

Nowadays that nem packet cures and adds the characteristic tangy sour flavor of nem without traditional fermentation. Salami making also use starters with known bacteria to create the tangy flavor.

Recently a friend showed me how to make mortadella and it’s remarkably similar to how to make cha lua.

Viets like to add a sprig of rau ram to it along with the garlic and Chile. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!


Could you make it with just the pink salt? I guess you would have to then ferment it

Yup—Getting that sour fermented flavor consistently would be the challenge. That’s why salami makers isolated and cultivated the right strains for the right flavors—so if they can isolate the nem strain and market it…

I didn’t realize that was @hppzz referenced in the article. Very cool!

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Found it in both the Alhambra Ranch 99 and the LAX-C in the section with seasonings/soup mixes. I also nabbed some nem chua to do a side by side comparison.


I was interested to see that Modernist Pantry also started stumping its meat curing products, including a recipe for a 24 hour Quick Cured Salami Cotto:

There are some significant differences between this recipe and the nem chua but I’d be interested if there was some renewed attention on quick-cured products sort of like how quick pickles seemed unavoidable a few years back.