These were the three varieties of sausages I purchased from the “Juan Longganisa” stall at Metro Grocery the other day. I had peppered the salesperson with questions about what made one different from the other, but I didn’t really get a clear distinction one way or the other, and figured a taste test would be the best way to compare and contrast different sausages. I am guessing that the flavor profiles to be distinguished are the amount of garlic, pepper, spices, vinegar, herbs, sugar and salt that are used. Also, the fat content and the use of artificial or natural colors. I will state up front a personal bias against any sausages that are TOO SWEET, and I have written several posts on chorizos and logannisa’s before… here, here, here, here and here if you are curious.
Oh, and before I proceed. So what’s the difference between a chorizo and a longganisa? I haven’t done any extensive search, but I gather chorizos are relatively plump, dried or fresh and flavored with paprika, at least the Spanish ones are. Longanisa in Spain are longer thinner sausages, that don’t have paprika but instead rely on black pepper and other spices. But the distinctions end there… in the Philippines, it seems the term is used interchangeably. And longganisas have become more dominant to describe sausages of ALL kinds, whether pork, chicken, fish, etc. And from region to region the proportions and types of ingredients used vary a bit. In the end, they are sausages, and the term longganisa appears to be the default term for many of them. But notice how longanisa was originally long and thin, while many of the ones you buy locally are now either incredibly short, light, squat, etc. :)
Lucban, Quezon Longganisa. These particular longanisas were bizarrely small (smaller than a vienna sausage even!) and fried up dense and firm. They were heavily seasoned with salt, sugar and garlic, and tasted a bit intense, but not in an appealing way. The red food coloring was plentiful, and of watery quality, hence it leached onto the plate quite readily. I presume all three of these sausages had saltpeter/pink salt or preservative, even though refrigeration was recommended. Our impromptu tasting panel of five people definitely placed this as their least favorite longanisa, and votes were done independently. I have heard a lot of good things about Lucban longganisa in general, so perhaps I have to try some other purveyors of this delicacy to get a better feel for the variety of sausages they make in that town that is quite famous for their sausages, noodles and other food items.
Calumpit, Bulacan Longganisa. These were a nice size, if still a bit on the diminutive side. But they were more naturally colored (here was probably some color, but definitely sparingly used) and looked appealing. The fat pieces were visible in chunks, and the sausage was perhaps 40-50% fat, which is a bit on the high side. The garlic and pepper were well balanced, but the salt in the sausages we tried was a bit heavy handed, though perhaps that was done due to the absence or smaller amounts of preservative. These tasted like someone made them, does that make sense? Nice with vinegar, we would have these again.
Tuguegarao, Cagayan Longganisa. Of the three longganisas we tried, this was a clear favorite. Tasty but not overpowering, hints of garlic, salt, vinegar, spices and probably colored with achuete powder or achuete oil. This was appealing visually and tasted good. They exploded when we cooked them, but that’s okay… Everyone in our household thought this one was the best. They were about the same thickness as the ones from Calumpit, but shorter, and if I recall correctly, weren’t tied at the ends, hence the explosion while frying.
These were just three of the choices that Juan Longganisa had on offer… I will definitely have to try a few more. But for now, it’s a day of longga burps ahead. Add a can of Diet Coke, and the burps turn EVIL. :)