New Recipes

Betel Leaf (Daun Kaduk)

Daun Kadok/La Lot/Wild Betel Leaves

I have been searching high and low for this herb and never thought I could get it here, so you could imagine how ecstatic I was when I finally found it in A Dong Market at Little Saigon here in Southern California. Well, sometimes it’s all about where to look!

Thanks to my friend B at Wandering Chopsticks (who told me it’s available in Little Saigon) and the friendly T&D at White On Rice Couple (who pointed me straight to the treasure), I now have access to this special ingredient that makes my mouth water just thinking about the possibilities: Malaysian Otak-Otak/fish custard wrapped with banana leaves, Nyonya Perut Ikan/stew preserved-fish stomach with vegetables (which sounds totally bizarre but very good), and the addictive Thai appetizer Mieng Kam (which is the reason why I fell in love with Thai food!). Such exotic and scrumptious culinary concoctions, made possible only by these little heart-shaped leaves. Amazing…

Called “daun kadok” or literally kadok leaves in Malay language, “la lot” in Vietnamese, these peppery-tasting wild betel leaves do wonders, here are the excerpt from Wikipedia:

“Betel leaves are used as a stimulant, an antiseptic and a breath-freshener. In Ayurvedic medicine, they are used as an aphrodisiac. In Malaysia, they are used to treat headaches, arthritis and joint pain. In the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China they are used to relieve toothache. In the Philippines, they are used specifically as a stimulant. In Indonesia they are drunk as an infusion and used as an antibiotic. They are also used in an infusion to cure indigestion, as a topical cure for constipation, as a decongestant and as an aid to lactation….”

APHRODISIAC?! Time to load up buckets of wild betel leaves… *wink*

A Dong Market
Westminster, CA
Tel: (714) 999-5566

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38 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. FranMag

    In the islands of Yap and Belau these leaves are used to wrap betel nut and lime (calcium carbonate) into bundles that are chewed. I used to think they just added a peppery flavor, but if it’s a stimulant, than perhaps it adds to the narcotic effects of the betel nut.

  2. Sowjanya Yinti

    franmag that’s how betel leaves are eaten in india too, but usually after dinner. The theory is that it helps in digestion.

    I always see them at my local asian store but never knew you could actually use it in cooking. I will eagerly wait for your recipes :).

  3. Anonymous

    Congrats that you found the leaves. I know what a pain it is to a cook when he/she can’t find the ingredients!

    Looking forward to your new creations. :)

  4. Wandering Chopsticks

    Yay! You found some. Since it was two VNese bloggers who led you to the goods, I think the first thing you make with those leaves should be “bo la lot.” We both have recipes on our blogs. :P

    Which reminds me, I still haven’t posted my recipe for mieng kham either. Although I liked the filling, since the wild betel leaves were eaten raw, they didn’t release the fragrance like when they’re cooked. Not nearly as wonderful as “bo la lot.”

  5. Wandering Chopsticks

    Also, to clarify for some of the above commenters, “la lot” is wild betel leaves. Similar in appearance and name but not the same as “la trau” which is the non-wild betel leaf you chew with betel nuts.

  6. tigerfish

    Incidentally, I saw these leaves being featured in a TW pgm this morning! Betel nut leaves! Endless possibilities :)

  7. Kalyn

    Very interesting. I would love to taste one of the dishes you make with them, never seen this herb before.

  8. Maya

    My granny used to chew it ( with other accompaniments) everyday after dinner. I used to love to watch her do this ever time I went over for a sleepover at her home in Sentul, KL

    I have seen these leaves in some Indian grocery stores here in NY.

  9. worldwindows

    This leaf is versatile. I love herbs and vegetables served raw with the a meal/noodles: the Malaysian ulam (salad), different dishes in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

    Mieng Kham is also available in some restaurants in Penang. I have this excellent dish with dry shrimps, nuts etc wrap with this leaf.

  10. The Expedited Writer

    OH MY GOD! You found daun Kadok in CA? You lucky woman, you :P I can never find here in Montreal. I even went to a chinese/vietnamese store to look for it. :P

    Well, good for you! ;D

    Oh i received your parcel on Wednesday. I have my on Pie Tee molds now! Woohoo! Thanks Bee Yinn :)

  11. Salt & Turmeric

    i think some ppl are confusing daun kadok to daun sirih. ;)

    im ready for our mieng kam session! or otak otak or both. lol.

  12. White On Rice Couple

    So glad you found them! We look forward to feasting on your delicious posts with these leaves!

  13. Dwiana P

    unbelievable, I never though that this kind of leaves can be found here. I never use it for cooking all I know my grandmother uses it for breath-freshener and antiseptic. You know the way old grandma did.

  14. MyF

    i have them growing happily in my garden… mum makes very delicious otak otak… im soo craving for it right now… and, try frying them with omelette – thinly sliced daun kadok, tomatoes, and eggs. healthy herbal breakfast.

  15. Anonymous

    Hello. This is my first post here, and I wish I had the words to thank you for your website. Your skills in cooking and food photography are much appreciated and admired by this food-mad Peranakan Singaporean!

    Is it okay to post a recipe request here? I’ve just bought tempeh (4 bars; only SGD$1.50!!!) for the first time from my local Cold Storage in Singapore, but can’t seem to any good recipes/ cooking tips for this food. Oops…

    If you could give some tips on how to prepare tempeh for cooking (eg. so that I can fry it with french beans, garlic, shallots, and sambal belachan etc), as well on how to store it (Wikipedia says it “freezes well”?), I’d be so-ooo grateful. Thank you so much! I wish you and your loved ones happiness and good health… again, many thanks!


  16. FaustianBargain

    hi…stumbled upon this via

    like others have said, betel leaves can be found at most indian grocers…just last week, i spotted them being sold in pots…i think they are vine/climbers.

  17. teresaling

    When I was a kid, I knew nuts about cooking. My grandmother always came by our house to pluck these leaves from outside my house. I have like a jungle full of it crawling all over the front.
    I always thought my grandma cooked weeds for us to eat. :| Little did I know then, that it was the most important ingredient in the food that I absolutely love to eat then and now. A bit bodo, you must forgive me. :P

  18. Mango Power Girl

    You found some great leaves there, it brings back some Paan memories :) the after dinner mouth refresher so populuar in India.

  19. syrie

    Mieng Kam is one of my faves! And you’ll be able to make the betel leaf recipes from the longrain book!

  20. little inbox

    Actually here in Penang, sometimes quite difficult to find it also. The veggie seller recommend me a place, where I can pluck the leaves for free wor…

  21. pixen

    I think Franmag and some bloggers confused between Daun Kaduk/ Wild Pepper Leaves aka PIPER sarmentosum with Betel Leaves aka Piper Betle which leaves are chewed together with slaked lime and areca nuts (buah pinang/betel nut). Both of them look almost alike accept the taste and smell.

    I used to plant it but it was easily attacked by some white fuzzy crawlies on its buds…:-( I had to give it up due to my heavy travelling… but I’m going to replant it again. My neighbour has a large pot of Daun Kaduk waiting for me :-D

    Can you ask the seller to get the plant whole plus some roots as well? You can try to plant in good quality soil in pots. They grow quite well.

  22. little mouse

    i like to have the fisk otak-otak recipe (le wu pau)…can u email it to me please…..!!! I like to get those “bo la lot” (daun kadok) in NYC…can u tell me where i can buy them?

    thank you…thank you!!

  23. Geoff

    I have been now able to buy Betel leaves in Little Saigon in Footscray, Melbourne, Australia. I have 2 problems, the Betel leaves that I can purchase are smaller than the ones I have enjoyed in our local Thai restaurant, and they don’t seem to keep. What is the best way to store them? Thanks.

  24. Jillian

    Hi! I’m hunting for this to make otak otak! Anyone in Perth WA who may have come across this? Where can I get it? Help!

  25. Wow – this is cool. Some years ago I was given a tiny piece of this plant with roots. The Vietnamese man who gave it to me – and did not speak any english called it “la lop”. I have been searching for how to cook it – but no luck until I wondered about my “translation”. I had about 30 square meters of this stuff growing – and every few months my friend would come and harvest it – giving me cash – and always say – “more water!”

    I no longer have that plot, but my father in law in Bowen in Qld has his entire front yard covered with it about a foot deep, and we were wondering what to do with it. Now that we know what it actually is – we might find some buyers for it. If you are in Australia and cant find it – let us know and you can give my retired father in law a few dollars to send you some – once we know how to prep it for travelling.

    Anyway thanks – and we will have to try some the the great sounding recipes.
    Townsville, Australia

  26. Hannah

    Hi James,

    If you could please pack some and send it to me here in Perth? lol

    I have been craving for it since i got here 4 years ago.

    Does anyone living in Perth knows where i can find som

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