Spicy Ginger Pork in Lettuce Leaves


Annabel Langbein often travels to Hong Kong to meet with the printers who work on her cookbooks. At a Cantonese restaurant opposite her hotel in North Point, she tasted a version of this dish, served with piles of lettuce leaves and bowls of finely minced squab for diners to make their own salad cups. In her riff on that, Langbein uses chopped pork instead of squab; the recipe is also good with any poultry.

Spicy Ginger Pork in Lettuce Leaves
Photo: © Ryan Robert Miller
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
6 1-course servings


  • 3/4 pound ground pork

  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger

  • 1 tablespoon Thai sweet chile sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

  • One 8-ounce can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  • 24 Boston lettuce leaves


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork with the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chile sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil.

  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil until shimmering. Add the pork mixture and stir-fry over high heat, breaking it up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the water chestnuts, scallions, oyster sauce and cilantro and remove from the heat.

  3. Spoon the pork into bowls. Stack the lettuce leaves on plates. To eat, spoon the pork onto the lettuce leaves, roll up and eat.

Suggested pairing

Pinot Gris grown in New Zealand's Marlborough region takes on a lush, stone-fruit depth substantial enough to pair with this aromatic, Asian-influenced pork dish.

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