Serves 4-6 Some people have speculated that this dish is not traditionally Chinese but rather an invention of a Hong Kong restaurant. Whatever the truth may be, this dish makes a good starter for a dinner party or festive occasion. The rainbow beef mixture, crispy noodles and lettuce leaves are served on individual platters and the hoisin sauce in a small bowl. Each guest puts a helping of each ingredient into a hollow lettuce leaf and eats it with his or her fingers. Ingredients 450 gm minced beef 2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry, plus 1 tbs for the marinade 2 tsp sesame oil 2 tsp cornflour 100 gm carrots 100 gm canned bamboo shoots 100 gm zucchini 15 gm Chinese dried mushrooms 225 gm iceberg lettuce 25 gm bean thread (transparent) noodles 300 ml groundnut or peanut oil 1 tbs finely chopped garlic 1 tbs finely chopped shallot 3 tbs finely chopped spring onions 2 tsp dark soy sauce 2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry 2-3 tbs hoisin sauce, plus 4 tbs for the accompaniment 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper Method 1 Put the minced beef into a bowl together with one tablespoon of rice wine or dry sherry, light soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour and mix well. Leave the beef to marinate for about 20 minutes. 2 Peel and cut the carrots into five centimetre long fine shreds. Cut the bamboo shoots, zucchini and pepper into five cm fine shreds. Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, drain them and squeeze out excess liquid. Trim the stems and shred the caps into five cm long strips. Separate and wash the lettuce leaves, wiping off excess water. Set them aside. 3 In a large wok or deep-fat fryer, heat 300 ml of oil until it is slightly smoking. Deep-fry the noodles until they are crisp and puffed up. Drain them on kitchen paper. (Leave the oil to cool; it can be saved for future use.) 4 Put one tablespoon of the oil in which you have fried the noodles into a very hot wok or frying pan and when the oil begins to smoke, stir-fry the beef for about one minute. Remove the beef and put it into a bowl. 5 Wipe clean the wok or pan. Re-heat the wok or pan over high heat and when it is hot, add one tablespoon of fresh oil. When it is slightly smoking, add the garlic, shallots and spring onions and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the carrots and stir-fry for another minute. Add the bamboo shoots, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, soy sauce, two teaspoons of rice wine or sherry, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Stir-fry the mixture for three minutes and then return the beef to the pan so that the meat is just coated. 6 Turn on to a warm serving platter. Arrange the lettuce and noodles on separate platters and put the hoisin sauce into a small bowl. Serve immediately.