San Choy Bao is a dish that our family typically orders when we eat out in a Chinese restaurant every once in a while. It is usually served as the entrée option and served as a second course with the leftover meat from a Peking duck.

It is not something I would often cook at home, but I thought I would give it a go and give it a little twist by adding glass noodle vermicelli in the dish to make it a full meal, which turned out to be delicious! I used minced tofu as the vegetarian option for this dish, but you are welcome to substitute it with some leftover roast duck or chicken, or some chicken mince.

The recipe below makes an entrée for four to share or as a main for two to share. Enjoy!

San Choy Bao (Chinese Lettuce Wraps)

San Choy Bao (Chinese Lettuce Wraps) Prep time: 30 mins Cook time: 15 mins Serves: 4 (sharing)


  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce
  • 200g firm tofu, diced
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, soaked for at least 8 hours in cold water (or ½ an hour in hot water), then finely diced
  • 200g glass noodle vermicelli, soaked in hot water for ½ an hour, then drained
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 cup water chestnut (tin or frozen), roughly diced
  • 1 can bamboo shoot, roughly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely diced
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 6 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • To garnish: 1 sliced chili, lime wedges, extra sliced spring onions


  1. 1 Select 10 lettuce leaves and trim if necessary to make large cups.
  2. 2 Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a wok on high heat. Add the ginger, green onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add in garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. 3 Add diced shiitake mushrooms and carrots. Stir-fry for another minute. Add tofu and continue stir-fry until lightly brown.
  4. 4 Mix the tamari, coconut sugar, and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Add the mixed tamari sauce, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoot and continue to stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. 5 Add the soaked glass noodle vermicelli to the wok and stir through the mixture evenly and let the noodle soak up all the sauce. Transfer immediately to a serving bowl.
  6. 6 Arrange lettuce cups on a platter. Spoon a little tofu mixture into each leaf, and garnish with some extra sliced spring onion, chili and a squeeze of lime. Serve and enjoy!


You can substitute the tofu with leftover roast duck, chicken, ground chicken, or even ground pork.
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