Bo La Lop (Grilled beef with piper lolot)

Vietnamese people prefer to enjoy meat in two ways: wrapped meats and grilled meats. Bo la lop/la lot (grilled beef with piper lolot) in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) combines these two kinds into a harmonious, flavorful roll.

 

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Bo La Lot includes marinated beef in fish sauce, garlic, and lemongrass before being wrapped in betel leaves, or la lop, and cooked over hot coals. The betel nut lends the beef an herbacious, almost peppery flavor, while the fish sauce and lemongrass give it a distinct Vietnamese flavor. It also aids in the sealing of the meat's juices. You'll smell it before you see a bo la lop stand. The betel leaf wrapping emits a large amount of aromatic smoke, which has a distinct medicinal aroma blended with the aroma of grilled meat. It's a fascinating experience.

Chopped onions, chopped peanuts, and mayonnaise may be sprinkled or poured on top of the wrapped beef nuggets, depending on the stand. An assortment of garnishes such as banh hoi (bundles of thin rice vermicelli noodles), different herbs, sliced cucumber, unripe banana, and chopped scallions will be available to customize your roll, as is typical of everything eaten in southern Vietnam. A small cup of nuoc cham sauce, a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and vinegar, is served on the side.

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The typical way to eat bo la lop is to take a piece of lettuce and sprinkle some banh hoi on top of it to help soak up the fluids from the wrapped beef that comes next. After that, it's up to you to decide which herbs you want to use.

It's also delicious as part of a noodle dish (bun bo la lop), in bo bay mon (beef served seven ways), or wrapped in a fresh spring roll (goi cuon bo la lop).

The majority of bo la lop stands also sell mo chai. This is essentially a meatball wrapped in beef fat, which keeps the meat juicy while cooking – it basically doubles down on the already fatty chunks of nem and turns them into a cholesterol-laden sphere of deliciousness.

 

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Leading Bo La Lop Eateries in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC):

Tan Quy – 02 Tan Quy street, District 7, HCMC, Vietnam
Co Lieng – 321 Vo Van Tan street, District 3, HCMC, Vietnam
Hoang Yen – 143 Co Giang street, Disctrict 1, HCMC, Vietnam
Banh Xeo Bac Hai – 01 Bac Hai street, District 10, HCMC, Vietnam
Thanh Vy – 267A Minh Phung street, Ward 2, District 11, HCMC, Vietnam

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