San Choy Bau

It’s no secret that I love Asian food. I love the smells, the texture that you get in each bite, but most of all, the flavours. Each dish is loaded with so many flavours, textures and smells, it’s like the best kind of sensory overload possible. From the salty soy sauce to the aromatic garlic to the savoury oyster sauce and the hot ginger, San Chow Boy does not disappoint on the flavour front.

San Choy Bau | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

I’m having trouble finding the true origin of San Choy Bau online, but most sources seem to point towards China or Hong Kong. It is a dish that has become extremely popular in Australia in recent years, particularly for cooking at home, because of how easy it is to make. It’s cooked in one pan on the stove and is ready in less than 10 minutes. Hello new weeknight favourite!

San Choy Bau | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

For those not in the know about this delectable little dish, here’s the skinny. You take some pork mince, stir fry it with some garlic and ginger, douse it in a bunch of flavoursome liquids, toss in some bean sprouts and serve in a perfectly arranged lettuce cup topped with spring onions and sesame seeds (and crushed peanuts, if you’re of that persuasion). How simple is that, right?!

San Choy Bau | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

You can be civilised and eat it with a knife and fork or you can dive right in and wrap it up tightly, pick it up with your hands and scoff it down! This is risky business though because even though it’s so much more satisfying eating with your hands, you need to be careful of the lettuce tearing. You might end up with juices dripping down your hands and face and mince spilling out of all sides like a bean bag with holes in it! Worth it!

San Choy Bau | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

San Choy Bau

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 minutes


1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1cm piece fresh ginger, minced

500g pork mince

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp sesame oil

½ tsp cornflour

1 cup bean sprouts

4 iceberg lettuce leaves (or another preferred lettuce with cup leaves)

3 spring onions, thinly sliced

Sesame seeds, to serve

Chopped peanuts, optional, to serve


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat and add garlic, ginger and pork mince. Stir fry for 3 minutes until mince is cooked through and colour had changed.
  2. In a small jug or bowl, combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and cornflour and add to wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add bean sprouts and stir fry for another 3 or 4 minutes until liquid has thickened and reduced slightly.
  3. Divide mince between lettuce cups, and top with spring onions, sesame seeds and chopped peanuts, if desired.


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