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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan


This sublimely swift recipe with silky soft pork, crunchy water chestnuts, caramelised garlic and a hint of chilli all wrapped up in lettuce is a surefire hit for anyone who enjoys South East Asian cuisine.

These little parcels of happiness are perfect for a build-your-own interactive dinner experience, because you can arrange the lettuce, pork and extra sauce in the middle of the table and let everyone dive in. You can easily make it vegetarian too, by using chopped hard tofu, and I would devour a meatless version of this just as enthusiastically as I would a typical pork version. Water chestnuts are a must for this dish, with their incredibly unique texture; they can easily be found tinned in the Asian section of the supermarket. And you guessed it, it’s my Luck Dragon secret sauce that brings all the flavours together.

Did you know? Water chestnuts are super popular in Asian cuisine, but they are not, as their name implies, literally nuts, nor are they legumes: they are actually aquatic tubers, similar to potatoes. They can qualify as a superfood because they are high in potassium, manganese, copper, fibre, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and copper. They also contain a good dose of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. They even have lots of antioxidants, particularly ferulic acid, which has the wonderful effect of keeping foods crisp and crunchy even after being heated.

Chef Dylan tip: When you are frying off the pork make sure the fry pan is nice and hot, with enough oil to ensure the mince sizzles. I like to use a cast iron skillet or even better, a wok, as these tend to retain the heat better. When adding the pork to the pan, do so in small chunks, and let it brown up nicely before stirring.

Edinburgh Scotland, June 2022

“You boys hungry? Fancy an early dinner?”, asks my best friend’s father from the driver’s seat of his 4x4 Pajero, as we head to his home in the Northern suburbs for the weekend. “Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle?” replies Chris, smiling from the front seat. “Always the comedian, ya smart Alec”, he says while shaking his head from side to side. “What about you Dylan?”. “Sure, Mr Darling, I could definitely eat.” “Dave is fine mate. You like Chinese? Because I know an excellent restaurant only

10 minutes away.” “China Chilli in the mall?” Chris pipes up. “Yes, Chris, you got it, we’ve been going there for years.” “Can we get the banquet pleeeease?” pleads Chris. “Alright, alright, let’s have a feast then; you two are growing young men after all.” “Thanks Dad! This is going to be epic! I’m starving” says Chris, excitedly rubbing his hands together.

We park up, and Dave holds the large wooden door open and gestures for us to enter the dimly lit restaurant. The place is empty at 4pm, except for an elderly Chinese man slurping on a steaming bowl of noodles, sat alone in the far corner. “That’s the owner’s father, he’s always here, and look, here comes his mother. ‘Hello Mrs. Chan’” says Dave respectfully, as a small Chinese woman shuffles to greet us with a smile missing a few teeth. “Mr Darling, how r-ovely to see you again so soon. Pr-ease take a seat”. I pull out the heavy metal chair padded with bright red plush fabric and take a seat.

“Can we please order a banquet for 3 people Mrs. Chan” says Dave politely. “Any drinks?” Says Mrs Chan. “I’ll have the usual. A small bottle of Tsingtao. And you boys want a couple of Cokes?” “Yeah Ok. Great” we both say, nodding. “No pl-oblem” says Mrs. Chan “I’ll let Nick know you are here. I’m sure he will want to come say hi” as she retreats to the kitchen. A few moments later, a burly man in a pristine chef uniform appears. “Mr Darling, Sir so lovely to see you” he says in a perfect Aussie accent whilst enthusiastically shaking his hand. “And you have brought your son, and is this a friend from school today?”. “Sure is. Dylan wants to be chef someday” adds Dave. “Good choice man! Welcome to China, Chilli Dylan” says Nick warmly, with both his thumbs up. “I hope you are hungry because you are about to see why Dave keeps coming back all these years” he says laughing, while patting his apron wrapped around his large well-rounded belly. “First course today is San Choy Bow. I can’t wait to hear what you think Dylan, this is my Dad’s family recipe. And after the meal, I can give you a tour of the kitchen if you like.”

Memories spent together with good food in good company are some of my happiest, and I was fortunate for my mate Chris to invite me along to share time with his Dad, and for the Chan family’s warm welcome, delicious banquet and hospitality.

PREP TIME: 15mins





  • 1 1/4 tsp corn flour

  • 3 tbs water

  • 60 mls LUCK DRAGON Asian Sauce


  • 3 tbs peanut oil

  • 1 clove large garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp ginger, minced

  • 300g pork mince

  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped

  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped

  • 100g canned water chestnuts, drained and sliced


  • 1 x fancy lettuce,

  • 50g Crushed peanuts

  • Finely sliced shallots


  1. In a small bowl mix the corn flour with water. Then add my LUCK DRAGON Asian sauce and mix.

  2. Heat 1 tbs oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.

  3. Add garlic and ginger, give it a quick mix then whack in the carrot and onion.

  4. Cook for 2 minutes stirring, then remove from pan into a bowl.

  5. Wipe out skillet and heat on high.

  6. Add remaining oil and fry the pork until cooked then return the cooked veg to the pan and combine.

  7. Add sauce and stir through then cook for ~11/2 minutes or until sauce thickens and is lovely and glossy, coating all the mixture.

  8. Transfer filling into serving bowl. Lay out lettuce leaves, peanuts and scallions on the side.


Serve up by placing some filling inside the lettuce leaf. Sprinkle the shallots and peanuts on the top, then wrap it up and munch it!


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