Easy Vietnamese Shaking Beef

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Vietnamese Shaking Beef, also known as “Bò Lúc Lắc,” is a popular dish in Vietnam that is loved for its tender, juicy, and flavorful beef. The dish gets its name from the shaking motion used to sear the beef cubes in the wok. Traditionally, bo luc lac is served with a side of rice and fresh vegetables. 

In Vietnamese, “bò” translates to beef, and “lúc lắc” refers to the sound the pan makes when you’re shaking the beef. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a blast shaking that pan.

Shaking beef used to be a meal reserved for the upper class and special occasions. But after the French colonization, beef became more easily available, and now bo luc lac is a common meal in Vietnam. 

Why You’ll Love This Vietnamese Shaking Beef Recipe

This is the best Vietnamese shaking beef recipe because the meat is tender and juicy, thanks to the marinating process, timed searing, and shaking method. Make sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to cut the meat against the grain below.

Bo luc lac is full of flavor, with a balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors. Imagine beautifully seasoned bite-sized pieces of steak seared to perfection.

It’s a super simple and fun dish to make. You don’t need any special cooking skills and the cooking itself takes less than 10 minutes!

What Do I Need For This Shaking Beef Bo Luc Lac Recipe?

This shaking beef bo luc lac recipe requires a good cut of steak and a few pantry staples. 

Ingredients for the beef marinade and stir-fried vegetables:

  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes (or ribeye)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Vegetable oil (or butter)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

For serving:

  • 1 bunch watercress, butter lettuce or mixed greens
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • Green onions to top the shaking beef

How To Make Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Step 1: Marinate the beef and prep the veggies

In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, black pepper, and minced garlic. Add the beef cubes and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. Meanwhile, wash and cut the vegetables.

Step 2: Sear and shake the beef

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and heat until hot. Add the beef cubes, one by one, spreading them out in a single layer. Let them cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes until browned on one side. 

Then, use a shaking motion to toss and stir the beef cubes, cooking for another 2-3 minutes, until browned all over and cooked to your desired level of doneness. You may need to cook the beef in two batches.

Step 3: Sauté the vegetables and combine

Remove the beef cubes from the wok and set aside. Add the sliced onions and bell peppers to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes, until slightly softened but still crisp.

Step 4: Return the beef to the wok, mixing it with the onions and bell peppers.

Add the beef back into the wok and toss to combine with the onions and bell peppers.3

Step 5: Serve the shaking beef on watercress or mixed greens, topped with green onions, alongside rice. Enjoy!

Serve the shaking beef over a bed of watercress or mixed greens, top with green onions, and add a side of rice. Enjoy immediately for the best flavor and texture!

Notes & Tips

  • For even more succulent beef, you can tenderize the cubes with a meat mallet before marinating.
  • Make sure your wok or skillet is hot before adding the beef, so it sears properly. Otherwise, it could end up a bit dry.
  • Use a shaking motion of the wok or skillet to stir-fry the beef. Using a spatula can break off the cornstarch and make the beef pieces cook unevenly.
  • Don´t overcook the meat or the vegetables. You don’t want to waste that precious steak cut. And the veggies should be nice and crisp. 

Variations & Substitutions

You can use other cuts of beef, such as sirloin, ribeye, or flank steak if you can’t find tenderloin. 

To make it spicy, add some sliced jalapeños or red pepper flakes to the dish. Some gochugaru flakes go well here as well.

You can also add some sliced mushrooms or cherry tomatoes to the dish for extra flavor and texture. Just make sure to slit the cherry tomatoes before cooking to avoid hot cherry tomato bombs in your mouth.

If you don’t have oyster sauce, you can substitute it with hoisin sauce or dark soy sauce. 

Feeling a little fancy? Use butter to sear the beef instead of vegetable oil. The combination of steak and butter is irresistible if you ask me.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the shaking beef with a side of rice and fresh vegetables, such as sliced cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes. 

I also love to add some pickled or fermented vegetables on the side. Quick pickled red onions are a beautiful touch, but you can lacto-ferment any vegetable with this Fermented Pickle Recipe.

Bo luc lac is also often served with a dipping sauce made from lime juice, salt, and pepper. But I find it’s salty enough, so some lime wedges will do the job.

Instead of plain rice, level it up with some tomato rice or this Easy Vegan Bok Choy Stir Fry. To make tomato rice, simply fry some day-old rice with tomato paste, fish sauce, and garlic.

For a complete feast, serve it with a side of Vietnamese egg rolls or spring rolls. And don’t forget about dessert, try this Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake!

How Do You Know Which Way The Grain Runs In Meat?

Cutting beef against the grain means slicing it perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers. 

This technique is important for several reasons: it makes the meat more tender and easier to chew, and it also helps to shorten the meat fibers, making it easier to marinate and cook evenly.

To cut beef against the grain, follow these steps:

Look at the direction of the muscle fibers in the beef. They will be running in one direction.

Place the beef on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut across the fibers, making perpendicular cuts to the direction of the fibers.

Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, or thinner for other recipes. 

If you are not sure which way the muscle fibers are running, you can try pulling the meat apart with your fingers. If it shreds easily, you are cutting with the grain. If it is more resistant, turn the meat and try cutting it in a different direction until you find the right direction.

Cutting beef against the grain can make a big difference in the texture and taste of your dishes, so it is worth taking the time to do it correctly.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 839kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef tenderloin cut into 1-inch cubes (or ribeye)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Vegetable oil or butter
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into chunks
  • 1 bunch watercress butter lettuce, or mixed greens, for serving
  • 1 cup cooked rice to serve
  • Green onions to top the shaking beef

Instructions

  • In a bowl, add the beef cubes soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, black pepper, and minced garlic. Toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes, one by one, spread out. Let them cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes until browned on one side. Then, use a shaking motion to toss the beef cubes, cooking for 2-3 minutes, until browned all over and cooked to your perfection.
  • Remove the beef cubes from the wok and set aside. Add sliced onions and bell peppers to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes, until slightly softened.
  • Add the beef back into the wok and toss to combine and heat through.
  • Serve the shaking beef over a bed of watercress, butter lettuce or mixed greens, top with green onions, and add a side of rice. Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 839kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 930mg | Potassium: 978mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2296IU | Vitamin C: 85mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 6mg

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