Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Wild Betel LeafSummer is almost over, but we still do grilling or barbecuing, don’t we? After choosing several different Vietnamese recipes from Vietnamese bloggers that I trust for its authenticity, I decided to go for Bò Nướng Lá Lốt ( = Beef, Nướng = Grill, Lá Lốt = Wild Betel Leaf). Other names for Lá Lốt are:
– Botanical Names: Piper sarmentosum/ Charvica Sarmentosa/Piper difusum
– English: Wild Betel Leaf
– Indonesian: Daun Sirih Dudu/Tanah, Daun Cabean, Daun Karuk, Daun Karok, Amelaunune, Gafutofure, or Kado-kado
– Malaysian and Singaporean: Daun Kaduk or Daun Kadok

The leaves contain high in antioxidant and can be used as a herbal medicine for asthma and cough. If you live in Winnipeg and wonder where you can get it, there are two Asian stores that sell it, Lucky (on Winnipeg ave.) and Dong Thai (on Notre Dame ave.)

Don’t get confused with Lá Trâu (Piper betle L.)! Lá Trâu is known as betel leaf in English and a popular leaf for chewing in traditional South East Asian culture. In Indonesia, betel leaf (daun sirih) has been approved as traditional feminine hygiene.

Back to my Vietnamese dish here, I compared three different recipes from Wandering Chopsticks, Viet World Kitchen and Ravenous Couple. Thank you folks for the recipes!

I made two different seasonings, one was with Chinese five spices and another one was with curry powder. Sun brand curry powder is Andrea’s recommendation for this. However, I used the Jamaican curry powder instead. At least, I am still on the track of curry. I didn’t try to say that pho is Thai soup and substituted banh pho for angel hair pasta as Rachel Ray did. Speaking about that, my husband threw his sarcastic comment, “if it’s not Chinese or Japanese then it’s got to be Thai.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please read on Andrea’s post of “How funky is Rachel Ray’s Phunky Pho?

This recipe goes for Delicious Vietnamese #5, hosted by Anh Nguyen of A Food Lover’s Journey.

Bò Nướng Lá Lốt
– Vietnamese Grilled Beef in Wild Betel Leaf –
Makes 25 to 30 rolls

1 lb ground beef (divide into two for two different seasonings), chuck preferred

Seasoning option #1:
2 tbsp minced green onions, green and white part
1 tsp Chinese five spices (ngo hiang)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Seasoning option #2:
2 tbsp minced green onions, green and white part
1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 tablespoons finely minced lemongrass (At Asian stores, you can find minced frozen lemongrass ready to use)
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

La Lot and Seasoned Beef Wrapped in La Lot
1. You will need two bowl and fingers to mix. In bowl #1, combine beef with green onions, Chinese five spices, fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper and salt; mix well and set aside in fridge. In bowl #2, combine fish, green onions, curry powder, lemongrass, fish sauce salt and black pepper; mix well and set aside in the fridge while you are preparing the leaves.

2. Use scissors or tootpicks to detach the leaves from their center stems. Make sure to keep the leaf stem attached to the leaf. You’ll need it later for creating the rolls.

3. To make the rolls, put a leaf on your work surface, matted side up and glossy side facing down. Take a bit of meat (about 1 tbsp) and use your hand to shape it into a small sausage of sorts.

4. Roll up the meat in the leaf, make sure that the length of the meat doesn’t exceed the width of the leaf and use the little stem to seal it up. The roll will keep its shape. Place the finished roll on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining leaves until all the beef is used. To view how to roll this little sausage, Andrea has given step by step pictures on her blog.

5. Grill them until done. There are multiple options to grill them; over small charcoal ovens, grill by using skewers or a grilling basket or broil in the oven for about 6-8 minutes, turning a few times to prevent the leaves from burning.


  1. @maameemoomoo: I believe you can find daun kaduk there.

    @Noobcook and LCOM: thanks!

    @Torviewtoronto: I'm not sure you are able to find the leaves. You should ask at the Asian stores esp the Vietnamese

    @Jason: have you tried this before?

    @Tigerfish: yes! Actually, there are 3 or 4 more different betel leaves.

  2. Hi Pepy! This beef in Wild Betel leaf looks wonderful. Mostly b/c of your awesome photos (smile), but I must admit it sounds really good too. I'm going to 'Google' that leaf right now…

  3. Summer is long over here 🙁 We were considering to turn the heater on the other day…bloody chilly.
    I never had anything like this…they look mouthwatering.

  4. I want to try this so much that I am trying to find out where to buy betel leaf in NYC, it must be around since several restaurants use it here. You pictures just make everything so delicious for the eyes.

  5. The rolls look really good. I've never eaten them. I've seen them on the menu of a couple of places, so am keen to try them and then maybe have a go at making them.


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