Bo Luc Lac Recipe (Vietnamese Shaking Beef)

By Alex Au Yeung

4.5/5 - (14 votes)

Bo Luc Lac, also known as “Shaking Beef,” is a popular Vietnamese dish that originated from French influence during the colonial period. This flavorful dish is made with tender and succulent cubes of beef, marinated in a savory sauce and quickly stir-fried to perfection. It is traditionally served with a side of rice, fresh vegetables, and a dipping sauce. Bo Luc Lac is loved for its unique combination of flavors, textures, and aromatic spices that make it an absolute delight to the taste buds.

What is bo luc lac? Why is it called like that?

vietnamese shaking beef

Like we said above, Bò Lúc Lắc is a popular Vietnamese dish that consists of stir-fried cubes of marinated beef. The name “bo” means beef in Vietnamese, while “Lúc Lắc” translates to “shaken.” The dish gets its name from the shaking and stirring technique used during the cooking process.

To prepare Bò Lúc Lắc, the beef is typically marinated in a flavorful mixture of ingredients such as soy sauce, garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper. The marinated beef is then quickly stir-fried over high heat, using the shaking and stirring technique, to achieve even browning on all sides while maintaining a juicy interior. This technique also helps to deglaze the pan, incorporating the rich flavors from the marinade.

Traditionally, Bò Lúc Lắc is served on a hot plate, placed over a bed of fresh watercress. The sizzling beef is accompanied by a side of steamed rice, known as “com bo luc lac” in Vietnamese. The combination of tender, flavorful beef, vibrant watercress, and fragrant rice makes for a satisfying and delicious meal.

Which cuts of beef are best suited for a Bo Luc Lac recipe?

bo luc lac ingredients

For a shaken beef recipe, the best meat cuts to use would be tender cuts that are suitable for stir-frying.

Tenderloin: Also known as filet mignon, tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of beef. It is prized for its tenderness and subtle flavor, making it an excellent choice for Bo Luc Lac.

Ribeye: Ribeye is a well-marbled cut with rich flavor. It offers a good balance of tenderness and juiciness, making it another great option for Bo Luc Lac.

Sirloin: Sirloin is a versatile cut that combines tenderness and flavor. It can be further divided into different sub-cuts, such as top sirloin or sirloin strip, both of which work well for Bo Luc Lac. I will use this for my recipe.

Top Loin: The top loin, often referred to as New York strip or striploin, is known for its tenderness and robust flavor. It is a popular choice for various steak recipes, including Bo Luc Lac.

Shoulder Top Blade (Flat Iron): The shoulder top blade, also known as flat iron steak, is a relatively tender and flavorful cut. It can be a more budget-friendly option while still delivering excellent taste when used in Bo Luc Lac.

Shoulder Center (Ranch Steak): The shoulder center, also called Ranch steak, is another flavorful cut that can be utilized in Bo Luc Lac. It is a versatile choice that offers good tenderness when properly cooked.

While more expensive cuts like ribeye and tenderloin will yield outstanding results, you can still enjoy a delicious dish using more affordable options like sirloin, top loin, or shoulder cuts.

Bo luc lac recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4 people.
  • Prep time: 20 minutes.
  • Cook time: 10 minutes.
  • Total time: 30 minutes.
  • Course: Main dish
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese.
  • Equipment:
    • Large bowl for marinating
    • Wok or large skillet
    • Tongs or spatula
    • Serving plate


For the beef marinade:

how to make bo luc lac

  • 500 grams (1 pound) beef sirloin, cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the stir-fry:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Spring onions, chopped (for garnish)

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


This is how to make bo luc lac

  1. In a large bowl, combine the minced garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and black pepper. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the beef cubes to the marinade and toss to coat evenly. Allow the beef to marinate for at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours for maximum flavor.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the marinated beef cubes in a single layer, allowing them to sear for about 1-2 minutes without stirring. This will help achieve a caramelized crust.
  4. Stir-fry the beef for an additional 2-3 minutes until cooked to your desired level of doneness. Remove the beef from the pan and set it aside.
  5. In the same pan, add the sliced onions, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened but still crisp.
  6. Return the cooked beef to the pan and toss everything together for another minute to combine the flavors.
  7. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped spring onions.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper to make the dipping sauce.
  9. Serve the Bo Luc Lac hot with steamed rice, fresh vegetables, and the tangy dipping sauce on the side.

Nutrition facts

Here are the approximate nutrition facts for Bo Luc Lac per serving:

  • Calories: 300
  • Total Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Protein: 30g


Is Luc Lac Cambodian or Vietnamese?

While it is primarily associated with Vietnamese cuisine, variations of Luc Lac can also be found in Cambodian cuisine, where it is known as “Lok Lak.” Both Vietnamese and Cambodian versions of this dish feature stir-fried beef, but they may differ slightly in terms of seasoning and accompaniments.

Can I make Bo Luc Lac ahead of time?

While the beef is best enjoyed immediately after cooking, you can prepare the marinade and slice the vegetables in advance to save time.

Can I substitute fish sauce with soy sauce?

Fish sauce adds a distinct umami flavor to the dish, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can substitute it with additional soy sauce.

What vegetables can I add to Bo Luc Lac?

Besides onions and bell peppers, you can experiment with other vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, or snow peas.

Can I make Bo Luc Lac vegetarian?

Yes, you can substitute the beef with firm tofu or seitan and adjust the marinade accordingly for a vegetarian version.

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With each bite of the tender and succulent beef, marinated to perfection, a burst of savory and aromatic flavors dances on your palate. The shaking and stirring technique employed during the cooking process infuses the meat with a beautiful caramelized crust while keeping it moist and tender within.

The sizzle of the hot pan, the enticing aroma that fills the kitchen, and the vibrant colors of the stir-fried beef and fresh watercress create a feast for the senses. Bo luc lac is not just a dish; it is an experience that brings people together, evoking joy and celebration.