Sek Pau Mei

The misadventures of the heart and sometimes, the stomach.

Grilled Lemongrass Beef Summer Rolls.

For the longest time I have been wanting to do an around-the-world series of postings on sekpaumei where every week I would do something from a different country. 

It keeps me out of my comfort zone and according to many sources is good for character building and it’s always gold to see my parents reaction when they can’t recognize what I put before them.

“Why can’t you just make normal Chinese food with the bok choy and chicken backside”

To be honest, I have never been to Vietnam. 

My knowledge of its history and culture is limited to the posts about dog eating on Facebook.

But my sources are sketchy. 

But I know I love a good bowl of pho (pronounced fur btw, you are welcome Internet friends) on rainy days and the colorful summer rolls that are supposed to be very healthy for you.

Now if you have been reading me for a while, you know I don’t do healthy. I made mine with some lemongrass grilled beef and in the size of those old Nokia phones. 

I have not regretted that decision yet.

You can make this with prawns too if you know, cows are sacred to you. 


Summer rolls are really healthy. If you do not put ten strips of beef in it.


Resist the urge to overstuff your rolls. Ten of mine exploded. Not complaining but it is a bitch to plate and shoot.


The dipping sauce will probably give you bad breath with all that garlic in it but it will be worth it. 

Lemongrass Grill Beef
Serves 4 or 2 very hungry siblings

500g beef flank, cut against the grain to 1 inch slices
1 tsp sugar
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of lemongrass, outer skin removed, cut finely
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 juice of large lime
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Toss and coat the beef strips in the marinade.

2. Cover and refrigerate for two hours. 

3. Bring to room temperature, pat dry lightly with paper towel to remove excess marinade.

4. Grill or stir fry over high heat until desired doneness. Do not overcook or you will eat leather. 

Dipping sauce or Nuoc cham Dip

1 cili padi or bird’s eye chili, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp of finely minced garlic
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 juice of large lime
1/2 tsp of sugar
Water to dilute of necessary

1. Whisk to combine. Leave aside.

Rice Paper Rolls Ingredients

12 large rice paper rounds
1 large carrot, grated
1 large cucumber, sliced into strips
1 cup mint
1 cup sweet basil
200g rice vermicelli
Roasted peanuts, crushed


1. Fill a shallow bowl with lukewarm water and dip the paper rounds until it becomes soft and pliable. 

2. Soak rice vermicelli in hot water until it is cooked, but not soft. Rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.

2. Place two to three basil leaves, followed by mint, cucumber slices and carrot. Add a little rice vermicelli and then beef strips. Sprinkle with peanuts.

4. Fold in two side flaps and roll tightly. Be gentle as the rice paper might tear.

5. Repeat until all your paper rounds are finished. 

6. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

7. Leftover rolls should be individually wrapped in cling wrap.


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