sang choi bow – pork lettuce wraps

Some mainstream chain restaurants several years ago thought they were setting a food trend putting lettuce wraps on their menus. This started quite the lettuce wrap craze, it was especially great for the low carb dieters. Lettuce wraps were not new though…the Chinese & Aussies had been eating them for years. There’s few Chinese restaurants in Australia & Hong Kong that you won’t find lettuce wraps – sang choi bow as they’re called, on their menus. 

sang choi bow

 Not only does sang choi bow has several spelling variations, its origins are also a little blurred. Perhaps coming from a province in China, sang choi bow – ground pork in lettuce leaves, is popular in Australian Chinese restaurants as an appetizer. As a child I waited excitedly for the perfectly cut & crisp lettuce leaves to arrive at the table with a steaming, fragrant bowl of browned, ground pork flavored with typical Chinese sauces such as hoi sin, soy and oyster. 

sang choi bow overhead

 I’m all about textures when it comes to food so I’ve added crunchy carrot, celery and water chestnuts to the caramelized ground pork. So what you get with each bite is a little saltiness & sweetness from the sauces with lots of crunch from the lettuce & other veggies. A bit of lettuce wrap nirvana. 

sang choi bow

sang choi bow - pork lettuce wraps
Serves 4
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 8 iceberg lettuce leaves
  2. 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
  3. 1 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  4. 2 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  5. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 1 lb (470g) ground pork
  7. 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  8. 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  9. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  10. 1 tablespoon hoi sin or Chinese barbecue sauce
  11. 1 teaspoon sugar
  12. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  13. 1/2 red onion, cut into thin slices
  14. 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  15. 1 large carrot, peeled & cut julienne
  16. 1/3 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  17. 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  18. 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  19. 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  1. Place lettuce leaves in medium bowl. Cover with water. Place in the fridge for
  2. 1 hour.
  3. Place mushrooms in small heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes; drain. Cut stems from mushrooms and discard. Thinly slice caps; set aside.
  4. Heat oil in wok over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and pork. Stir-fry 5 to 6 minutes or until pork is browned. Drain any fat from pork
  5. Add sherry, oyster sauce, soy sauce, hoi sin sauce, sugar & sesame oil.
  6. Add mushrooms and onion. Stir-fry 1 minute; remove from heat.
  7. Add celery, carrot, water chestnuts & green onion. Stir-fry to combine.
  8. Drain lettuce leaves. Spoon pork mixture into lettuce leaves. Top with cilantro leaves &bean sprout. Roll-up lettuce leaves to enclose filling. Serves 4.
The Fresh Aussie
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