I'm traveling right now and having an email exchange with Geoff in the U.K. He has a recipe from Secrets of the Red Lantern cookbook of the Red Lantern Restaurant in Australia by Luke and Pauline Nguyen (a talented brother-and-sister team!). It's a lovely book and for the bo kho beef stew recipe, one of the aromatics is something called "hop bap." At first, without knowing the recipe or context, I thought it was canned corn.
But then Geoff scanned in the recipe (click on the image to see a larger image of the recipe) and sent it along. (Note the use of coca cola soda.) The book uses diacritic marks inconsistently so I don't know what exactly it is. Is "hop" suppose to be "hot" (seed)? Which of you has a clue? Please let Geoff and me know!
The name of this book is Secret of the Red Lantern and their website says that their recipes are secret ones handed down through the family. Sounds like the Anh family of Crustacean fame in San Francisco. I hope that they didn't withold information from readers as that would be irresponsible.