San Choy Bow

San Choy Bow Lettuce wraps are made with ground / mince meat and vegetable filling with a savoury Chinese sauce spooned into lettuce cups, then wrapped into a roll shape to eat.

For a great Lettuce Wrap, it all comes down to the sauce. It takes more than just a splash of soy sauce to make it truly delicous.

Get the sauce right and you can pretty much put anything into the filling. And it is one of those rare recipes that is genuinely great made entirely vegetarian. I would just as happily scoff down a meat free version of this as I would a traditional pork version.



▢ 1 1/4 tsp cornflour
▢ 3 tbsp water, separated
▢ 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce (Note 1)
▢ 1 tsp dark soy sauce
▢ 2 tbsp oyster sauce
▢ 1 tsp sesame oil
▢ 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
▢ 1 tsp white sugar (can omit)


▢ 1 tbsp peanut oil
▢ 1 clove large garlic, minced
▢ 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
▢ 300g / 10oz pork mince (ground pork) (Note 3)
▢ 1/2 onion, finely chopped
▢ 1 small carrot, finely chopped
▢ 100g/ 3.5oz canned water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped (Note 4)
▢ 5 baby corn, canned or fresh, finely chopped (Note 4)
▢ 5 mushrooms, finely chopped(shiitake is best, I used Swiss Brown)


▢ 8 leaves large or 16 – 20 small lettuce, preferably soft (Note 5)
▢ Crushed peanuts
▢ Finely sliced scallions / shallots


  1. Mix cornflour with 1 tbsp water until lump free. Then add remaining Sauce ingredients and mix.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.
  3. Add garlic and ginger, give it a quick stir then add onion.
  4. Cook for 1 minute then add pork. Cook pork until it turns white.
  5. Add all the vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes until the carrot is softened and pork is cooked through.
  6. Add Sauce and cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until it thickens and glossy, coating the Filling.
  7. Transfer Filling into serving bowl.
  8. Lay out lettuce leaves, peanuts and scallions on the side.
  9. To serve, spoon some Filling into a lettuce leaf.
  10. Top with peanuts and scallions, bundle it up and enjoy!


1. Light soy sauce adds the salt and the dark soy sauce adds a touch of colour. You can sub the dark soy with more light soy sauce, or just sub both the light and dark with ordinary soy sauce. The filling will just be a bit lighter in colour. Don’t just use all dark soy sauce – flavour is way too strong – or with a thick sweet soy sauce like kecap manis.


This recipe makes enough for 3 as a main (4 if it’s 2 adults and 2 kids) or around 6 as a starter.