Bo La Lot – Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves

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Bo La Lot recipe

Happy Mother’s Day!  To celebrate Mom today, three generations of our family got together to make this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe, under the supervision and direction of Mom, of course.  The result?  One of our family’s favorite dishes made with betel leaves from Dad’s garden, and hand-rolled by Mom’s kids and grandkids.  Get together with your loved ones to make savory Bo La Lot – Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves.

If you’ve ever dined in a “Beef 7 Ways” type of Vietnamese restaurant, where you cook the meat in the middle of the table and wrap your own spring rolls, you may have tried Bo La Lot as one of the 7 Ways.

Betel leaves, or la lot, are bright, green leaves about the size of your fist.  Dad grows them at home, and they grow like weeds, spreading around so much that he usually harvests enough at a time for us and his neighbors.  Mom says that betel leaves can also be readily found in large Vietnamese/Chinese supermarkets.  If you stumble across some, definitely give this recipe a try.

Betel leaves.  Betel leaf.  Bo La Lot recipe.
Betel leaves, or “la lot”.

Bo La Lot – Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

  • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped lemongrass
  • 5 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2.5 lbs. beef ribeye, finely sliced OR sliced and then coarsely chopped by a food processor
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine (optional)



  1. First, lightly brown the lemongrass and garlic by placing them in a small pan with the EVOO and heating on low to medium heat.  Stir as it cooks and fills the kitchen with a great aroma, about 5 minutes to desired golden brown color.

    Lightly brown the lemongrass and garlic, to marinate the beef for Bo La Lot.
    Lightly brown the lemongrass and garlic, to marinate the beef for Bo La Lot.
  2. Place the ribeye in a large mixing bowl, and add the lightly browned lemongrass and garlic mixture, including the EVOO.  Add the oyster sauce, pepper, sugar, and (if desired) red wine.  Mix well.  Marinate the beef for at least 30 minutes.

    Marinate the beef for Bo La Lot for at least 30 minutes.
    Marinate the beef for Bo La Lot for at least 30 minutes.



  1. Place a betel leaf on a plate with the dull colored side of the betel leaf facing up and the stem pointing towards the top of the plate.  Spoon about a tablespoon of marinated meat onto the betel leaf, about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom.

    Bo La Lot recipe
    Spoon a generous amount of marinated beef onto the betel leaf for Bo La Lot.
  2. Starting from the bottom, tightly roll the betel leaf up and toward the stem, and use the stem to skewer the leaf to hold the roll together.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t stay tightly rolled, as you can adjust the shape as you cook the Bo La Lot below.

    Bo La Lot recipe
    Tuck the stem into the rolled Bo La Lot, to help the roll stay together.
  3. Repeat until you run out of leaves or beef.  This should make approximately 40 rolls.



You can cook Bo La Lot on the grill or on the stovetop.  We grilled ours this time, but we have cooked Bo La Lot by simply frying it on the stovetop as well, still yielding great results.  If frying, use medium heat until it reaches the forest green color below.

Dad has grilling grates, which make grilling Bo La Lot a lot easier.  If you don’t have these grates, simply skewer the rolls (after first soaking the skewers in water to prevent them from burning).  Grill for about 5 minutes to reach the desired color below.

Use a grilling grate like this to easily grill a large batch of Bo La Lot.
Use a grilling grate like this to easily grill a large batch of Bo La Lot.
Bo La Lot recipe
Bo La Lot, before cooking, are a bright shade of green.


Bo La Lot recipe
Cooking Bo La Lot will darken the rolls to a forest green color.

Serve Bo La Lot with rice, or as the meat inside your own handmade spring rolls.  Enjoy!

Comments make me happy.  Please post your comments below!  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

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2 years ago

Hi! I was wondering what kind of leaves are a good replacement fo bo la lot? I know its the main ingredient in the dish, but they are hard to find in Germany.