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Mar 14, 2010 06:30 AM

Frogs' legs in grape leaves on a Vietnamese menu. Thoughts?

Never seen grape leaves on a Viet menu before, and in fact, this is the only dish on a huge menu that contains them. Thoughts on what they're doing there?

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  1. I've never seen that in Vietnam, but it sounds good!

    1. Was wondering if it was a sub for betel leaves, which are used in Vietnamese cooking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: limster

        Maybe. I should ask (and order it) next time I'm at this place. Will report back.

      2. At my local vietnamese restaurant, they have meat balls (kind of football shaped) wrapped in what they called a grape leaf, that is then blackened as it cooks on the grill. They reminded me of the grape leaves that I use for greek dolmades, but had a different flavour.

        1. Vietnamese do use grape leaves.

          A typical roll-your-own beef 7 ways (bo bay mon) goi cuon set or banh hoi set comes with thit bo cuon la luop, grilled beef rolled in grape leaves as one of the 7 types of beef.

          I don't know if this is French influenced and the original way is bo la lot (grilled beef in betel leaf), but both are there and are pretty common. You are supposed to stuff with the grilled beef your roll-your-own either goi cuon with rice papers or salad leaf and banh hoi and then in dip mam nem, which is a fishy salty paste.

          I have seen frog legs on VN menus and bo la luop on VN menus, but never frog stuffed in the la luop. But I guess why not make it that way.

          1 Reply
          1. re: luckyfatima

            Yes, I guess the French planted vineyards in Vietnam, and that there are small pockets of the landscape that allow for viticulture (though I should still think it'd be a literally uphill battle to produce much of quality)?

            Still, it's interesting how uncommon grape leaves seem to be in cuisines globally given how many nations devote so much acreage to viticulture. I wonder why. For instance, you'd think you'd see them a lot more in French/Italian/Spanish cuisine than you do.

          2. While I'm at it, a possibly dumb question. They also have a veggie dish with a coconut milk–black bean sauce. How often do those two get combined in Asian cuisines? I don't think I've seen it a lot, but then I don't think I've looked for it a lot.

            5 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I liked it, and now that I've seen it it seems so obvious Reese's peanut butter cups...

              2. re: tatamagouche

                coconut milk and black bean is pretty common combo in Vietnamese food as a dessert.

                1. re: jaykayen

                  You're right; and that's true for Thailand as well - albeit not with salted fermented black beans.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Aha. This is savory though, a sauce for vegetables. As a dessert, it's more like a soup, right, and the black beans are whole? Or no?