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Shaking Beef - Bo Luc Lac

Shaking Beef - Bo Luc Lac

3-4 Servings

00:10 Prep

00:05 Cook

Easy - You got this

Beer culture is as prevalent in Vietnam as it is in Australia—if not more. In Vietnam, the consumption of beer and a snack-type dish go hand in hand in a tradition we call ‘nhậu’; similar to izakaya-style drinking or Spanish tapas. You’ll find many ‘quán nhậu’ (drinking restaurants) in Vietnam that serve up delicious and innovative snack dishes alongside Vietnamese beer. What these dishes usually have in common are specific characteristics that make them pair best with a cold glass of beer varying textures, typically savoury and contains lots and lots of umami.

Bo luc lac (shaking beef) is one dish that my uncle and I would often cook together for our nhậu sessions. It consists of charred tender pieces of cubed steak, seasoned with a deep umami ingredients such as anchovy salt or MSG, stir fried with onion, capsicum and a generous knob of butter, then served alongside a bed of crisp and fresh vegetables. Add a side of fries to make it the perfect Vietnamese beer snack.

My uncle’s taste is “super” Vietnamese which means he requires various textures to be experienced in the one dish. Whenever we cook Vietnamese shaking beef, he requests that I head to the butcher and specifically purchase beef rib meat or beef intercostals. Both cuts have a balance ratio of meat, fat and cartilage to provide that unique soft but chewy texture Vietnamese people like.

To make the perfect shaking beef all the textural components need to be present. This dish does not only relies on a balance of flavours but also a balance of textures which in my opinion, is what separates it from the French juggernaut dish Steak Frites (steak and chips).

The meat needs to be cooked until soft and tender, yet retaining a slight chew. The addition of rich and creamy butter amalgamates with the beef’s succulent meat juices (using Wagyu can further emphasise this), while leafy greens, tomatoes and cucumber add freshness and a sweet but tart flavour to cut through the richness of the dish. Crispy French fries round off the dish to mop up any sauce and provide that extra crunch.

So if steak and chips feature in your household, do yourself a favour and give this recipe a whirl to level up your steak and chips with mouthwatering Vietnamese flavours, and a textural experience like no other.

If you enjoy this Vietnamese shaking beef, here are some other snack dishes that go well with a few beers or glasses of wine:
- Vietnamese Air Fryer Wings
- Pork and Prawn Spring Rolls
- Vietnamese Popcorn Chicken
- Vietnamese Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Vietnamese Battered Prawns
- Lemongrass Pipis
- Vietnamese Beef Pho Stew

Shaking Beef - Bo Luc Lac
Shaking Beef - Bo Luc Lac


Beef stir fry marinade:

  • 500-600g scotch fillet/porterhouse steaks, cut into bite sized pieces

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 2 tablespoons cooking rice wine

  • ½ teaspoon anchovy salt

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil


  • 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • 1 brown onion, cut into thick wedges

  • 2 capsicums (red/green), cut into bite sized pieces

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • 50g butter

  • 170g (small) bag of salad mix

  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, roughly sliced into small pieces

  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes

  • 1 bag frozen French fries (optional)


Beef stir fry marinade:
1. In a large bowl, add all marinade ingredients and mix well. Allow to marinate for 1 hour or, for best results, overnight in the fridge.

How to stir fry:
1. In a large pan/wok on medium heat, add cooking oil and garlic and sauté for around 20 seconds until fragrant. Turn heat to high and add onion, capsicum and season with sea salt. Stir fry for 30 seconds then remove and set aside.

2. Place pan back on high heat, and add marinated steak. Stir fry and constantly toss around for 1-2 minutes, or until beef is seared.

3. Add butter, return stir fried vegetables and toss through for 30 seconds or until butter is emulsified. Remove and serve on a bed of salad mix, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.

4. Deep fry French fries and serve alongside.

Serving suggestions:
1. Steamed rice
2. In a Vietnamese roll (banh mi)
3. French fries or hot chips

Duncan’s tip: Serve with a dipping sauce on the side of freshly crushed chillies with soy sauce along with French fries and an ice cold beer.

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