Aromatic Vietnamese Beef Salad: Exotic Flavors in Every Bite

What’s up, foodies! Today, I’m excited to share with you my latest culinary obsession: Vietnamese shaking beef salad, also known as “bò lúc lắc.”

This dish is simply amazing. Picture this: savory and tender beef sirloin, seared until golden brown, then tossed in a flavorful mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce. The meat is served over crisp lettuce, watercress, and butter lettuce leaves along with sliced onions, fresh pineapple chunks, and basil leaves. Drizzled on top is a tangy dressing made from lime juice, garlic, chilies and sugar that takes the flavor to a whole new level. Who wouldn’t want to dig into that?

This recipe is perfect for those who love Vietnamese cuisine and are looking for a healthy yet satisfying meal. It’s also great for anyone who wants to impress their friends at a dinner party or come up with something new for a family meal. Trust me when I tell you that everyone will be raving over this salad.

So let’s get cooking! I’ll guide you through each step and provide tips along the way to ensure that your shaking beef salad turns out just as delicious as mine. Get ready to have your taste buds shaken!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad
Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad

Listen, I know a good dish when I see one. And let me tell you, this Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad recipe is nothing short of amazing. It combines tender beef sirloin with flavorful herbs and a tangy dressing that will light up your taste buds.

What makes this recipe so special? First of all, the beef is seared to perfection and then shaken in a hot pan with garlic, onions and spices – hence the name “shaking beef”. This technique gives it a crispy exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender.

And let’s not forget about the dressing – a mix of soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar that imparts a complex yet balanced flavor profile. Trust me, it’s the perfect complement to the richness of the beef.

But what really sets this dish apart is the fresh herbs and vegetables that are staples in Vietnamese cuisine: butter lettuce, watercress, red onions, chiles and basil leaves. They add texture and freshness to every bite and make you feel like you’re eating a healthy bowl of greens – even though there’s plenty of protein in there too.

So why will you love this recipe? Because it’s deliciously satisfying without being heavy or greasy – something that’s hard to find in Asian cuisine sometimes. It’s also versatile – you can serve it as a salad or wrap it in lettuce leaves for an interactive meal. Plus, it packs in a ton of flavor without requiring hours of prep time or fancy equipment.

In short, if you’re looking for an easy yet impressive recipe that will make your taste buds dance, look no further than this Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad. Your stomach (and your guests) will thank you.

Ingredient List

“Juicy and flavorful Vietnamese shaking beef salad will awaken your taste buds!”

Before heading to the kitchen, get yourself ready with the ingredients needed in making this delectable Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad. Here is a list of the ingredients you need to shop beforehand for your convenience.


  • Beef sirloin (1 lb) – thinly sliced or cut into small cubes
  • Garlic cloves (4) – minced
  • Red onion (1) – thinly sliced
  • Butter lettuce (2 cups) – separated
  • Watercress (1 cup)
  • Basil leaves (1/4 cup)
  • Fresh pineapple chunk
  • Chile pepper (1)
  • Soy sauce (2 tbsp)
  • Oyster sauce (1 tbsp)
  • Fish sauce (1 tbsp)
  • Fresh lime juice (1 1/2 tbsp)
  • Sugar (1 tsp)
  • Black pepper (1/2 tsp)
  • Olive oil (2 tbsp)

Note that some of the ingredients might be difficult to find. In case of unavailability, continue reading and I will suggest some substitutions that you can utilize.

The Recipe How-To

“Mix and match herbs for a refreshing and colorful dish!”


  1. Start by marinating the beef. Cut beef sirloin into 1-inch cubes and put them in a large bowl.

  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon of sugar, ½ teaspoon of fish sauce, and 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh lime juice.

  3. Add minced garlic and one sliced chile to the marinade.

  4. Pour the marinade over the beef in the large bowl and toss to coat evenly.

  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.


  1. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until hot.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and wait until it gets hot.

  3. Add the marinated beef (including any remaining marinade) to the wok and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until seared and browned on all sides but still pink inside.

  4. Remove the beef from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate.

  5. In the same wok or skillet, add another tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.

  6. Add sliced garlic cloves and cook for about a minute until fragrant.

  7. Add thinly sliced red onion and stir-fry for about two minutes until softened but still slightly crisp.

  8. Return the cooked beef to pan, stir-fry for another 30 seconds then remove from heat.


  1. Arrange washed and dried butter lettuce leaves, watercress, and basil leaves on individual plates or a large platter.

  2. Serve the beef topping over greens, garnishing with diced fresh pineapple chunk if desired.

Enjoy your flavorful Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad (Bo Luc Lac) and impress your friends with this unique and delicious recipe.

Substitutions and Variations

“Bring the vibrant flavors of Vietnam to your plate with this shaking beef salad.”

Hey foodies, let’s talk about some substitutions and variations we can make with this Vietnamese shaking beef salad recipe! Don’t be afraid to mix things up and make it your own. Here are some ideas:

– Beef: while sirloin is the recommended cut of meat for this recipe, you can also use other types of beef such as chuck, porterhouse, fillet steak or even filet mignon. Just make sure to slice it thinly across the grain to ensure tenderness.

– Vegetables: I love the combination of lettuce, butter lettuce, watercress, red onion and basil leaves, but you can easily swap them out for other greens like arugula or spinach, and use shallots instead of onions. If you want to add more veggies, try sliced cherry tomatoes or shredded carrots.

– Fruit: a fresh pineapple chunk can cut through the savory flavors of this salad and provide a sweet balance. But if you don’t have pineapple on hand, some fresh mango chunks would work just as well.

– Sauce: the sauce in this recipe is made with soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. However, if you prefer a sweeter taste, try adding some sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) to the mix. You can also adjust the amount of heat by adding more or less chile.

– Salad dressing: skip the dipping sauce and toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a simple dressing made from olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and minced garlic for a different kind of flavor.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to variations on this classic Vietnamese shaking beef salad recipe. So go ahead and experiment with different cuts of meat or veggies that you have on hand – who knows what amazing taste experiences await!

Serving and Pairing

“Simple ingredients, complex flavors – perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.”

Now that you have your delicious Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad ready, it’s time to think about serving and pairing it appropriately. This dish is a perfect mix of juicy beef and fresh, crispy salad leaves that provides a well-balanced flavor profile.

To serve the dish, start by arranging a bed of butter lettuce, lettuce, and watercress on a large plate or bowl. Then, spoon the shaking beef mixture over the greens and garnish with thinly sliced red onion and basil leaves. You can also add fresh pineapple chunks for an extra burst of sweetness.

As for the pairing, this Shaking Beef Salad recipe goes particularly well with steamed rice or noodles. The rice will help absorb any excess sauce from the beef and complement its savoriness perfectly. Alternatively, you could serve it with stir-fried veggies or make some tomato rice to accompany the salad.

If you’re looking for a drink pairing, consider an ice-cold ginger beer or a light lager beer to counterbalance the richness of the beef flavors. A glass of chilled white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would also be a great choice.

Overall, Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad is an incredibly versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer or main meal. It’s perfect for summer barbecues or family dinners alike, so be sure to give this recipe a try and let me know how you loved it!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Add a little shake to your life with this mouthwatering beef salad!”

What’s better than a vibrant-loving Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad? A Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad that’s already prepared and waiting for you in the fridge, ready to be devoured whenever you’re feeling peckish. Whether you want to meal prep for the week or have leftovers from last night’s dinner, this salad recipe is perfect for Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating.

The key to keeping your beef salad fresh and flavorful is proper storage. First, make sure the beef has cooled down completely before storing it in an airtight container. Store the beef and salad components separately, so as not to wilt your greens. I recommend placing some damp paper towels on top of the greens to keep them fresh. The leftover dressing can also be stored separately in an airtight jar or container.

To reheat the beef for serving, it’s best to use a skillet over medium heat until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Avoid microwaving as that can make it tough and dry out the meat. Also, gradually mix in the dressing and basil leaves just before serving to avoid sogginess or wilting.

The salad can be safely stored in your refrigerator for up to 2 days. After that point, it may lose its freshness and texture, but that shouldn’t be a problem since it won’t last long enough!

So go ahead and give yourself a head start and make yourself a batch of Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad that you can happily enjoy anytime of the day without worrying about cooking from scratch every single time!

Tips for Perfect Results

“Healthy and delicious never tasted so good!”

Here are some tips to make sure your Vietnamese shaking beef salad recipe comes out perfectly every time.

First, make sure to slice your beef thinly against the grain. This ensures that it stays tender and juicy when cooked. If the slices are too thick, they can become tough and chewy.

Next, marinate the beef for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. This helps to infuse the meat with flavor and moisture, making it even more tender and delicious.

When searing the beef, make sure the pan is hot enough before adding the meat. You want a good sear on each side, which locks in the juices and creates that charred, caramelized texture.

When preparing the dressing, taste it as you go along and adjust the seasoning to your preference. Some people prefer a more tart flavor, while others like it sweeter or spicier. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your perfect balance of flavors.

To add extra freshness and crunch to your salad, toss in some herbs such as basil leaves or watercress. You can also add other ingredients such as fresh pineapple chunks or sliced chile peppers for a little heat.

Finally, be careful not to overcook the beef. It should be slightly pink in the center for optimal tenderness and juiciness. Overcooking it will result in tough, dry meat that is difficult to chew.

Follow these tips for perfect results every time with this flavorful Vietnamese shaking beef salad recipe. Enjoy!


Now, let’s go to the section you’ve been waiting for: FAQs or frequently asked questions. This section is where we will answer some of the most common questions about our Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad recipe. So, keep reading to find out more!

Why is it called Vietnamese shaking beef?

Shaking beef or bò lúc lắc, is a Vietnamese dish that comprises cubed beef and sliced onions stir-fried until tender and juicy. Served on a bed of watercress and paired with a zesty dipping sauce of lime juice and pepper, shaking beef gets its name from the energetic shaking and stirring involved in cooking the beef.

Is Luc Lac Cambodian or Vietnamese?

This recipe features a fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine, known as shaking beef. It involves sautéing beef with a mixture of lettuce, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, pepper, and a generous helping of soy sauce. The combination of flavors and textures makes for a delicious and satisfying meal.

What is shaky beef?

In this recipe, we’ll be preparing a dish called Vietnamese Shaking Beef that features seared cubed steak stirred with garlic, onion, butter, and a soy marinade. To serve, we’ll arrange the beef on a bed of lettuce, watercress, tomato and/or cucumbers, and offer an optional lime-salt-and-pepper dipping sauce.

What is the origin of Bo Luc Lac?

The recipe that I am about to share is believed to have originated in both Vietnam (known as Bò Lúc Lắc) and Cambodia (Lok Lak). Despite its origins being uncertain, it is clear that the recipe has been influenced by a variety of cultures. The dish features beef and tomato paste, which could suggest a French influence, while the marinade sauces used may have a Chinese influence.

Bottom Line

So there you have it, folks – my recipe for Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad. I hope this recipe has inspired you to try something new and expand your taste buds to the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and make it your own!

I guarantee that once you try this dish, you’ll fall in love with its bold flavors and textures. The tender beef, the crispy greens, and the sweet-and-savory sauce all come together to create a wonderful flavor explosion in your mouth.

Remember to follow my tips for perfect results, make-ahead, storing, and reheating instructions. And don’t forget about substitutions and variations to suit your taste buds.

In conclusion, I encourage you to try new dishes and broaden your culinary horizons. Trust me; it will be worth it! If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to refer back to my FAQ section. Enjoy creating this dish in the comfort of your own kitchen and impressing guests with the unique flavors of a Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad

Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad Recipe

The Winning Recipe for 1999 in the San Francisco Chronicle. This recipe, from chef Mai Pham, makes a great appetizer and, with a bowl of steamed rice, a satisfying entree as well.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 374.1 kcal


The Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced chile (any variety)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

The Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups watercress, torn into bite-size sprigs
  • 2 cups butter lettuce or 2 cups other lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

The Beef

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 lb beef sirloin or 1 lb flank steak, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 2 -3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple chunk, in 1/8-inch-thick bite-size pieces
  • 20 fresh asian basil leaves, cut in half


  • Combine all dressing ingredients; set aside.
  • Gently combine all salad ingredients and arrange on a platter.
  • To prepare the beef: Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce and beef in a medium bowl and toss to coat the meat evenly.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry quickly until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the beef and quickly stir-fry it until just charred on the edges, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add to the bowl with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the pineapple and Asian basil to the beef mixture.
  • Arrange the beef mixture and all its juices on the watercress and serve immediately.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 230gCalories: 374.1kcalCarbohydrates: 12.8gProtein: 23.8gFat: 25.4gSaturated Fat: 8.2gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 1176.5mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 8.5g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Asian, Brunch, Easy, Greens, Meat, One-Dish Meal, Roast Beef, Vegetable, Vietnamese
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You