San Choy Bau Recipe


San Choy Bau is one of those dishes my kids keep asking for again and again. It’s a great one for camping because the ingredients store easily (oyster sauce should be kept in the fridge), and you only need one pan.

The same amount works as a starter for a large group (gem lettuce leaves work better for this) – or feed the family as an easy carb-free lunch. I normally use chicken mince but pork mince works well, too. It can be made ahead of time and reheated when you want it! 


  • 1 packet dried shitake mushrooms
  • Up to 1 tablespoon sesame oil (or peanut oil)
  • 500g chicken mince
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) chopped red chilli 
  • Small tin water chestnuts, drained and sliced thinly
  • 6 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce 
  • Small packet fresh bean sprouts – about 1 cup
  • Iceberg (1/2 to 1) or gem (1 or 2) lettuce


  1. Boil the kettle, and soak the mushrooms as per directions – normally 10 minutes. Drain. Chop finely or process.
  2. Heat the oil in a frypan – quickly brown the mince.
  3. Add ginger and chilli, cook 2 minutes longer. 
  4. Add mushrooms, water chestnuts, shallots and sauces, simmering 5 -10 minutes until tender. Add water if needed. You still want the water chestnuts to be firm and the mixture to be moist. 
  5. Meanwhile, wash lettuce and separate into leaves on a plate. 
  6. Serve the hot san choy bau in a bowl with bean sprouts on top. Add your own spoonfuls to a lettuce cup, fold up and eat! 

You can substitute regular mushrooms, but the shiitake mushrooms give it a distinctive taste. Onions can be used instead of shallots, just lengthen the cooking time. Our Gilmore recipe is quite traditional, but I’ve seen recipes with capsicum, carrots, noodles, celery, garlic, baby corn, rice wine, sherry, kepak manis sauce, coriander or even peanuts! It is a very versatile meal, so just add what you want. If lettuce isn’t your thing, serve it with rice for a heartier meal. The mixture is also yummy in rice paper rolls, with or without salad.

If you want more camping recipes – do check out the Camps Australia Wide Community Cookbook. There’s prized family camping recipes, favourite camping spots in Australia and must do and sees as you travel our beautiful country. All contributed from our camping community.

San Choy Bau Recipe



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