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Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

May 04, 2019 | 22:27

Try this Vietnamese dish of minced beef, wrapped in wild betel leaves grilled over charcoal served with herbs, sauces, and chilies.

Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

Grilled Beef in Betel Leaf/ Bo Nuong La Lot.

Betel leaves wrapped beef (bò nướng lá lốt) has been an essential dish in what’s called Vietnamese seven beef course meal. The betel leaves give the dish an interesting earthy, medicinal flavor. It’s quite unique, in my opinion. When you grill up these babies, the fragrance from the leaves is intoxicating.

The dish is usually served with bun (vermicilli noodles), wrapped with lettuce rolls in rice paper as a spring roll, or served on it’s own as appetizers. It’s tasty on their own already, though many people like to dip in the ubiquitous Vietnamese sauce. The plate of vegetables goes with the rolls is also remarkable, with its wide variety of plants and tastes.

Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

You can find betel leaves fresh or frozen at Asian supermarkets.

There are many variations of this dish out there. It all depends on how you want to marinade the beef. But the leaves are what makes this dish so special. Add chopped peanuts and green onion cooked in oil, wrap in lettuce, herbs, and vermicelli noodles. Then dip into a vat of nước chắm. Take a bite of a spicy Thai chili pepper, followed by a gulp of beer.

Partly because of being a grilled food, this dish is often served outside or especially on the street. Cool days or even rainy days, the time when grilled beef wrapped in wild betel leaf is the most popular. Such a pleasant atmosphere created by the funny sound of grilling beef and delicious smell spread around a corner lures people into stopping for some minutes and enjoy the dish.

Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

The dish was actually made from well-seasoned ground beef, which was wrapped carefully in betel leaves.

Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

The wrapped rolls would release the good fragrance flying on air while grilling.

Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

You can’t resist the wonderful smell of the seasoned beef betel leaf rolls releasing while grilling, and the sizzling funny sound it made.

Grilled beef in betel leaves with bun noodles

Betel leaves have a fleeting perfume; when grilled they blister and char beautifully, imparting their delicate fragrance to the beef.

VNF