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This is a very tasty Vietnamese appetizer and part of the famous "bo 7 mon" Vietnamese menu of eating 7 different types of beef dishes. Beef 7 ways. No holy cow here. The skewers of little green parcels of beef make a lovely presentation.

La lot is a type of Asian herb - a large shiny heart-shaped leaf which gives a peppery, pungent and aromatic taste. Also called wild betelnut leaves or daun kadok in Southeast Asia, it is a vine and is related to the pepper family. La lot looks somewhat similar to betelnut, a member of the palm family, which is used like chewing tobacco in some parts of Asia. La lot lacks the narcotic content that betelnut gives. Even without the addictive content, the bo la lot is pretty addictive by itself!

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 4


Cost per serving $1.44 view details
  • 1 red Thai chile, finely minced or 1 teaspoon sambal olek
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced to make ¼ cup
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 24 La-Lot leaves (sub: perilla, shiso, grape leaves)
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 large shallots, diced finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon grass, very finely minced
  • 3 La-lot leaves, chiffonade
  • 12 oz ground beef (15-20% fat)
  • 2 Tablespoon fish sauce,
  • 1 teaspoon Asian five spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar (sub: brown sugar)
  • 8 bamboo sticks, pre-soaked
  • Some canola oil for brushing


  1. Preparing the dipping sauce: Mix all dipping sauce ingredients together (chile, garlic, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar and water). Set aside.
  2. Preparing the leaves: Remove the hard stem from the leaves. Bring a small pot of salted water to boil. Drop in the leaves wait 5 seconds and immediately remove and plunge into a bowl of iced water. Drain. Stack the leaves and cut off the two rounded sides so that the leaves are all even in size, about 2 ½ inch in length, set aside the leaves. Finely chiffonade the remnants edges, set aside.
  3. Preparing the mirepoix: In a small sauté pan, heat the canola oil. Add the chopped shallots and fry till translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in minced garlic, chopped lemongrass and chiffonaded la-lot leaves. Let cool.
  4. Preparing the meatballs: In a medium bowl, mix together the meatball ingredients (beef, fish sauce, five spice powder, sugar, and pepper.) Add the cooled mirepoix. Mix together to combine.
  5. Preparing the Bo La-Lot: Lay out a piece of leave, shiny side (top) up. Take about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture and form into a small log. Place the log on stem end of the leave. Fold in the sides and slowly roll tightly to enclose the log. Set on a baking tray. You should have about 24 rolls. Using 2 skewers in parallel, about ½ inch a part, skewer 3 logs per skewer. Brush the logs with oil.
  6. Place the skewers on a grill rack, and cook about 3 minutes per side, till the leaves are slightly charred.
  7. Serve with the nuoc cham dipping sauce.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 170g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 296  
Calories from Fat 162 55%
Total Fat 18.08g 23%
Saturated Fat 6.06g 24%
Trans Fat 0.01g  
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 1440mg 60%
Potassium 307mg 9%
Total Carbs 17.47g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g 2%
Sugars 14.57g 10%
Protein 16.03g 26%
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  • Wayne Ehlers
    This is my all time favorite Vietnamese dish. I would not reccommend leaf substitutions, as the end result doesn't even come close. It's kind of like leaving the bananna out of a bananna split. Piper sarmentosum is the scientific name of the la lot plant and the leaves and plant can be found on the web. I add 4 oz. of ground pork to the meat filling because we love the taste/texture differance, plus our processed beef is only 5% fat. Also, instead of triming the leaves, I tuck the sides in and throw in a couple extra leaves into the filling. Finally, if you leave the stem on the leaf and roll it from tip to stem, poke a hole in the roll and use the stem to secure and forget about burned skewers.
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!


    • ShaleeDP
      September 12, 2013
      I use sambal in some of my dishes too. I have learned to like it. This looks like a hot appetizer... I think I would like it.
      • Lauren
        June 18, 2010
        This is my favorite dish in the 7 course beef. The only thing I would add is chopped roasted peanuts before serving. :)
        • Linda Tay Esposito
          September 11, 2009
          oops. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
          • John Bally
            September 10, 2009
            Step 4 mentions pepper, which is not in your list of ingredients. How much pepper do you use?
            • O.S.
              March 16, 2009
              Looks delicious!
              • Linda Tay Esposito
                September 23, 2008
                Wayne: Good tip on the leaf tips! Do share the link where you can order the leaves. In San Francisco, I can only find it in my favorite Asian store - New May Wah.
                • Chris Jones
                  August 13, 2008
                  I recognize that picture - I think I rolled some of those.

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