The first time I had Vietnamese Shaking Beef or Bo Luc Lac was in Mui Ne, Vietnam, a beach resort town outside of Saigon/Ho Chi Minh city. We were close to our resort when we pulled over to a random beach-front restaurant to freshen up and fill our bellies. In the beautiful country of Vietnam and in the city of seafood galore, I ordered a hamburger. You live and learn.
Luckily, my husband ordered Shaking Beef and naively offered me a bite. After one bite of this flavorful Vietnamese dish of seared beef cubes, I tossed my hamburger aside. I slid his plate over to me and finished his food like a stealth ninja. Legend has it he’s still looking for his Bo Luc Lac to this day.
Vietnamese Shaking Beef is seared cubed steak cooked with garlic, onion, butter, and a soy marinade. The beef goes onto a bed of lettuce, watercress, tomato and/or cucumbers, and served with an optional lime-salt-and-pepper dipping sauce.
Bo Luc Lac is not a common home-cooked dish. It's more of a celebratory dish that is eaten as an appetizer. However, nowadays, you now can find Bo Luc Lac served with rice in many Vietnamese restaurants.
When making this dish, use a good quality steak. High-end restaurants opt for the fancy cuts such as filet mignon for a tender and juicy steak. I make mine with less expensive cuts like sirloins or tri tips. You may have to chew a little more, but the flavor is all the same. Like all good steaks, do not overcook it! Medium rare is the way to go. Anything over that is blasphemy.
Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc lac)
- 2 lbs sirloin (trim off excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves (mince)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small red, white or yellow onion (slice into thin wedges)
- 1 garlic clove (mince)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Lime Dipping Sauce (Optional)
- In large bowl, marinate beef with sugar, salt, black pepper, and minced garlic for at least one hour at room temperature or overnight in fridge for best results.
- In a large skillet, heat up vegetable oil on medium high. Add half of the beef cubes and sear on all sides by shaking beef until medium rare. No more than 2-3 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with other half.
- To the now empty skillet, add butter. Once melted, add onions and garlic. Sautee until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes). Add soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice vinegar and sugar. Cook the mixture for about 2-3 minutes.
- Toss in seared beef cubes until nicely coated. Transfer beef and sauce onto a bed of lettuce, watercress, tomatoes, and/or cucumbers.
- Mix together the lime juice, salt and pepper.
- Serve shaking beef with rice, and lime dipping sauce on the side.