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Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef)


Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef)

Beef Marinade:

1.5 lbs beef sirloin (or any cut you like) cut into 1″ cubes
2 tbs minced garlic
1.5 tbs sugar
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 ts thick soy sauce


1/2 cup rice vinegar
1.5 tbs sugar
1/2 tbs salt

Dipping Sauce:
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 ts kosher salt
1/2 ts fresh cracked pepper

1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 bunches of watercress, long stems trimmed
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

Cooking oil for frying


Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, thick soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2 hrs.
Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet.

Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4 tbs of the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes. Prepare bed of watercress and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside.

Heat a large wok or pan over high heat. Add about 2 tbs cooking oil and when it begins to smoke, add an even layer of beef and allow to sear for about 2 minutes, before “shaking” to sear the opposite sides for about another 1-2 minute more to brown all the sides.  Do this in batches to cook all the beef if necessary.

Transfer beef to bed of watercress and tomatoes. Drizzle another 3-4 tbs of vinaigrette over the beef and greens and top with pickled red onions. Lastly, squeeze lime juice over salt and pepper in a small ramekin.

Cook’s Note:

We like our beef medium rare and test the meat by touch and sight–it will plump up slightly and be bouncy to the touch with a spatula.

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80 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Wow, this looks awesome. I think this shaking beef is mostly served on a hot plate, yes, or is that black pepper steak???

    Anyway, this looks great. Good site you have there.

  2. Adelina

    This dish is one of my favorites, especially if I want something quick, simple, yet delicious for a weeknight meal. Absolutely love the mouthwatering picture too!!!
    Thanks for posting and for sharing!

  3. Sylvia

    Ravenous Couple, I have two questions:

    1. Could you explain what the thick soy sauce is? I have seen and used light, dark and sweet soy sauces but not thick soy sauce. Sweet soy sauce tends to be quick thick so it that the one you mean?

    2. What is kosher salt?

    Can’t wait to shake the beef after your kind clarifications! Thanks.

    • Hi Sylvia: Thick soy sauce is sweeter because it’s typically has molasses/sugar to add color and heighten flavor. So you may already have it. Kosher salt has larger grains and doesn’t dissolve as fast and tends to be less salty then regular table salt–it’s widely available in the salt section. You can certainly use table salt if you like. Thank you for the questions and let us know how it goes!

  4. This is a recipe that was given to me nearly 15 years ago by a cook in a Vietnamese bar/lounge here in Hawaii. His name was Duc and he became a good friend. And later the “shaking beef” phenomena emerged. Seems like one in the same, it really is a traditional Vietnamese dish.

    Nate | AlohaWorld Ono Recipes

    1/2 lbs. flank steak, 3/4″~ 1″ cubes
    1 Tbs. oyster sauce
    1 Tbs. Maggi Liquid Seasoning
    1 tsp. sugar
    1 tsp. cornstarch
    5~6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    lettuce, coarsely chopped large pieces
    Chinese parsley, chopped
    black pepper

    1. Put beef in bowl, add oyster sauce, Maggi, sugar & cornstarch.
    2. Hand mix for a bit, marinate in refrigerator few hrs., preferably over night.
    3. Heat ~1 Tbs. oil in wok over high until very hot.
    4. Add beef, stir-fry to well browned & starting to caramelize, 4~5 min.
    5. Add garlic slices, stir-fry another minute or so.
    6. Serve over coarsely chopped lettuce, garnish w/ Chinese parsley.
    7. Serve w/ dipping sauce made from ~1 tsp. black pepper & juice of 1 lime for ea. diner.
    8. Wrap meat cube & some garlic slices w/ piece lettuce, dip in sauce.

  5. Quynh-Vy

    wonderful and delicioussss

    I’ve tried many recipes from internet as well as home cook but had not achieved the taste and texture of Bo Luc Lac (shaking beef) until this one.

    Very juicy and tasty

    thanks again

  6. Trang

    I was very surprised when reading some Vietnamese recipes in your blog, they are exactly the same with how we cook in our country. I was surprised because they were introduced by a foreigner, thank you for this. I’ve also tried some of the other recipes from China and Thailand. All of them were really tasty. Thanks a lot. Your site is really really wonderful :)

    About the name of this dish, many people explain that “luc lac” is the description of how beefs move to and from in the pan, so they translate the word into English as “shaking”. However, they maybe don’t know that the word “luc lac” has another meaning, which is “cubes”. This is to describe the shape of the beefs, which makes this dish different from the very popular Vietnamese stir fried beef. And I think the latter is more reasonable because in Vietnamese, “luc lac” is not a verb, it’s quite ridiculous to understand it as “shaking” or “shaky”.

    Just wanna share something from my knowledge :) Hope you’ll find it interesting. Looking forward to other Vietnamese recipes from you. Thanks.

    • Trang – thanks for your comment, this recipe is actually from a Ravenous Couple, they are Vietnamese, but other Viet recipes I made them on my own. I think I have pretty much have the fundamentals down for Viet cuisine. :)

    • betka

      Actually, I believe that “luc lac” is a verb meaning to shake. See the Vietnamese online dictionary definition: here It’s rather “quite ridiculous” to think of “luc lac” as cube. Look it up.

      • Hi Trang and Betke: Thanks for your thoughtful insights regarding bo luc lac… literal translations of Vietnamese words can be problematic but for better or for worse shaking beef is one of the most common English name that this dish goes by and so that’s why used it.

      • Thanh Nguyen

        “Luc Lac” in Vietnamese is both a verb and a noun meaning to shake or swing as a verb and a dice as a noun. Trang is right about this. Lúc lắc as a noun is called “xí ngầu” in South Vietnam but Northern Vietnamese calls lúc lắc or súc sắc.

  7. Cooking Mame

    YUM! I’m making this dish tonight along with tomato paste fried rice! I don’t have watercrest but will use baby spinach instead!
    I love your website and the photos are just AMAZING!! I must have spent 2 hours lastnight reading your recipes. Keep up the great cooking!!

  8. hotbanana

    Hi, I just found your webpage and totally loving. For this recipe, I was wondering is it ok if i substitute dark soy sauce for the thick soy sauce?

  9. Christine

    My mom had asked me to cook her some beef that she defrosted, so I asked her what type of flavor she wanted American or Asian? & of course she said Asian so I tried to think of something I could whip up, with no luck I resorted to the internet lol! I made this last night and my parents loved it! Thanks for sharing, it was dee-licious. I actually ran out of thick soy and sesame oil so I just used olive oil and “stir fry” sauce. I can’t wait to try it this way though!

  10. bbglo

    I made this twice with two different cuts of meat (rib eye/filet). It was absolutely delicious! Great pics too.

  11. The Traveling Spoon

    Thank you Rasa Malaysia for posting this and to Ravenous Couple for sharing your delicious Bo Luc Lac recipe! It’s one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, having grown up as a Vietnamese American in San Jose and while living in Los Angeles temporarily – two cities with thriving Vietnamese communities. I really appreciate how your blogs make traditional Asian cuisine so accessible to people. It’s nostalgic and empowering for me to connect to my culture and family history by being able to replicate these dishes. I look forward to reading more of both of your blogs and trying out the recipes, particularly the Vietnamese dishes.

  12. zanx

    it’s not my first time to try this recipe , but i loved your presentation as well as the onion vinigraite
    thank you for the share.

  13. Simon

    I can’t forget the smile on a vietnamese colleague’s face when I mention “bo luc lac”, she was like “heey, you know asian food.”. This dish is extremely tasty, I tried this dish for the first time in Sydney australia. It was such a delicious treat. The marinated beef was like comfort food, but the vegetables was also so fresh, tasty and healthy.

    I’m nearly hooked on vietnamese food. But it’s just so difficult to express how rasamalaysia, whiteonricecouple, martin yan, Luke nguyen and asians friends have inspired me even more to cook asian treats. Vietnamese cuisine is just extremely exciting ranging from the french style Banh mi to Banh Xeo and Bo luc lac. Vietnam certainly is a mystery of it’s own in the world of cuisine.

  14. leng

    halloooo bee!

    thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipe! i just love this shaking beef :) i didnt had red onion when i made it, so i just used white onion but still it was so nice! this is definitely a keeper!

    more power to you!

  15. SUE

    i made this lastnight. it was great! thank you! my beef was a little tough what can i do to make it more tender?

  16. Gertie Orsi

    They have to know which this is an issue. I’m thinking that if they currently hvn’t addressed that , they will in the close future. Facebook has carried out with with the Fan pages.

  17. tracy

    Im sorry for this silly question, but what brand of thick soy sauce do you use? I don’t have any experience with soy sauce =x

  18. Matty T

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe! The flavors are JUST like my moms! If I tried to ask her fora recipe, she would say “a little of this and a little of that” which makes it impossible to replicate! Thank goodness for Vietnamese bloggers! Bless you!

  19. sonia

    hi there,

    do you think I could marinate veggies in the vinegar sauce and use this recipe for a steak kabob?? do you think it would taste great?

  20. Jason

    Sorry for the stupid question. New at this just curious what exactly are we suppose to do with the Vinaigrette that we made. Does that go with the marinating of the beef as well?

  21. Patricio Tomás

    Hi Rasa Malaysia. First of all thanks for your recipes. I live in Argentina and I love to try new dishes. I cook a lot of things just right from your page. The recipes are very well explained and clear. My only recommendation it’s to put the servings along the recipe. I want to cook Bo Luc Lac tomorrow for three people. It’s ok or I should use more amount of ingredients? Thank you very much Rasa and keep this way :D

  22. ConnieC

    Hi! I am making this tonight and I do not understand what you do with the dipping sauce…there is such a small amount of ingredients (jc of one lime, 1/2 ts slt, 1/2 ts cracked pepper) do you sprinkle it over the top? thanks.

  23. NYC Chinatown

    I made this dish twice using your recipe and I’ve concluded with my family that the taste is nowhere near close to the viet restaurants in NYC Chinatown. Granted each restaurant makes it differently but it seems to be missing a certain ingredient of something. The recipe is still good and it tastes great but it’s not the same.

  24. Zsusha

    Made this tonight and the hubby and I absolutley loved it! Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe… all the flavours came together perfectly! And as well as that it was easy to make which is a huge plus for me! Thanks RC and Bee!

  25. Bex

    First of all, I LOVE Rasa Malaysia – my cook book is full of recipes printed from this site.

    I cooked this for the husband last night and he RAVED about it! He couldn’t get over the presentation, and then the flavours and the interaction between the beef and salad – this has gone straight onto our dinner party repertoire! Thank you so much to Ravenous Couple for sharing this recipe and thank you for posting it!

  26. In the past 2 weeks that I’ve known of this recipe, I’ve used it countless times. The marinade is wonderful and I’ve used it for so many other “dishes.” Thanks for the recipe and thanks to Hong and Kim!

  27. Vi Nguyen

    wow, it looks so nice here :x
    and in Hanoi, for this dish, we also add pineapple and paprika (bell pepper
    they will make “bo luc lac” more delicious :)

  28. kto

    I made this tonight using this recipe and it was DELICIOUS! My boyfriend said it tasted exactly like the ones we get at the restaurant. Thanks! :)

  29. Bud

    Bee, for this recipe, do you pre-tenderize the beef with the baking-soda treatment (as explained in your Easy Chinese Recipes book) ? Thanks!

  30. Glxie63

    Look forward to trying this but I can’t use oyster sauce, should I substitute anything or just leave it out?


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