Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce


November 14, 2023

Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac, or “Shaking Beef,” isn’t just a dish; it’s a Vietnamese flavor bomb. Imagine succulent beef cubes sizzling in a hot pan, creating a dance of flavors. This blog post spills the beans on making this Vietnamese classic—from picking the right beef to whipping up a killer dipping sauce. Let’s dive in and make some magic in the kitchen!

Over the weekend Toni and I decided to recreate one of her favorite dishes from Vietnamese cuisine, since we had it at a restaurant the week before. They did it really well, better than some other places we’ve tried so of course, it always begs the question, “Should we try this at home?”

And so we did and it was amazing. But what most surprised us is that it was sooooo quick to make. Definitely now a mainstay in our kitchen menu rotation.

Bo Luc Lac is a beloved dish in Vietnam and often enjoyed on significant family gatherings and celebrations. It’s a testament to the warmth and hospitality of Vietnamese culture, where food is a shared experience that brings people together. This dish transcends boundaries and is cherished not just in Vietnam but also by food enthusiasts around the world.

Now, let’s dive into the art of creating Authentic Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac and crafting the perfect dipping sauce to accompany it. It’s going to fill your kitchen with the aromas of Vietnam and your table with the joy of a memorable meal with your family.

Ingredients for Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce

For the Beef Marinade:


The main meaty star, striploin is cut into bite-sized pieces. It provides a tender and juicy base for the dish.


Adding a touch of sweetness, sugar enhances the natural flavors of the beef without making it overly sweet.


The essential seasoning, salt ensures each piece of beef is perfectly seasoned, contributing to a well-balanced taste.

Black Pepper:

Bringing a subtle heat, black pepper adds depth and complexity to the marinade, enhancing the overall flavor.


Minced garlic contributes its aromatic essence, infusing the beef with a savory and fragrant kick.

Soy Sauce:

A savory element, soy sauce adds depth and umami to the marinade, creating a flavorful coating for the beef.

For the Sauce:

Thinly Sliced Red Onion:

A touch of sweetness and a pleasant crunch, thinly sliced red onions add a delightful texture to the sauce.

Minced Garlic:

Infusing its aromatic essence, minced garlic contributes a savory kick to the sauce.

Soy Sauce:

Bringing a salty and savory element, soy sauce enhances the overall umami flavor of the sauce.

Fish Sauce:

Despite its potent aroma, fish sauce is the secret to a depth of flavor, providing a savory and slightly briny note.


Adding a natural sweetness, honey balances the savory elements and creates a harmonious flavor profile.

Rice Wine Vinegar:

With a mild acidity, rice wine vinegar brightens the sauce, offering a subtle tang.


A touch of sweetness from sugar complements the honey, contributing to the well-rounded taste of the sauce.

For the Lime Dipping Sauce:

Lime Juice:

Brings a zesty and citrusy punch, providing a refreshing and tangy flavor to the dipping sauce.


Enhances the savory notes, ensuring a well-balanced and seasoned dipping experience.

Black Pepper:

Adds a subtle heat, contributing depth to the dipping sauce’s overall flavor profile.

MSG (Optional):

Intensifies the savory taste, elevating the dipping sauce to a new level. It’s the secret ingredient that makes it truly great!

Equipment for cooking Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce

When it comes to cooking Authentic Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac, having the right equipment can make a significant difference in achieving that perfect sizzle and sear. While you can certainly use alternatives, we highly recommend the following traditional equipment for an authentic Asian cooking experience:

Wok: Using a wok is the secret to achieving the iconic sizzling and shaking action that gives Bo Luc Lac its name. The wok’s curved shape and wide surface area allow for even distribution of heat, ensuring that the beef cooks quickly while retaining its juiciness. It’s also excellent for stir-frying, a common cooking technique in Asian cuisine.

Metal Ladle: A metal ladle is the perfect tool for “shaking” the beef in the wok. Its sturdy construction can handle the high heat of the pan and the vigorous stirring required for this dish. The metal ladle’s smooth edge helps you scrape up any delicious bits that have caramelized in the pan, adding depth of flavor to the beef.

Why a Wok and Metal Ladle or Wok Spoon Are Great for Asian Cuisine:

Using a wok and a metal ladle or wok spoon in Asian cooking is like using a painter’s brush and canvas. They offer several advantages:

High Heat: A wok can handle high heat, allowing you to quickly sear the beef and create a delightful smoky flavor. The metal ladle won’t warp or melt under the intense heat, making it an ideal tool for cooking Asian dishes.

Quick Cooking: The shape of the wok promotes even cooking and speedy preparation. It’s perfect for the fast-paced nature of Asian cuisine, ensuring your ingredients are cooked to perfection without delay.

Flavor Enhancement: The wok’s high sides and the metal ladle’s ability to scrape the pan create a surface that encourages caramelization, adding rich and savory flavors to your dishes.

While you can certainly adapt the recipe to different cookware, if you’re looking for an authentic and delightful experience, a wok and a metal ladle are highly recommended. They’ll not only make cooking Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac more enjoyable but also enhance your overall Asian cooking adventures. Now, let’s move on to the preparation and cooking process.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Authentic Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac with Lime Dipping Sauce

1. Marinating the Beef:

In a large bowl, let’s kickstart the culinary journey by combining the diced striploin with a delightful mix of flavors. Add sugar, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, soy sauce, and vegetable oil. It’s time to give the beef a mouthwatering makeover. Thoroughly mix the ingredients to ensure every piece of beef is evenly coated with this savory goodness. Allow the beef to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. This step is essential to infuse the meat with irresistible flavors that will make your Bo Luc Lac truly exceptional.

2. Preparing the Savory Sauce:

While the beef is marinating, let’s create the heart of your Bo Luc Lac – the savory sauce. In a separate bowl, combine thinly sliced red onions, minced garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, and sugar. Stir these ingredients together, creating a sauce that’s both sweet and savory, with a touch of tang. Set the sauce aside, and you’ll be amazed at how it elevates the entire dish.

3. Crafting the Lime Dipping Sauce:

Next, let’s prepare the dipping sauce. In another small bowl, mix lime juice, salt, black pepper, and, if you like, a pinch of MSG (monosodium glutamate) for that extra depth of flavor. This dipping sauce adds a zesty kick to your Bo Luc Lac, balancing the richness of the beef and the savory sauce. Set it aside, and you’ll see how it completes the dish.

4. Searing the Beef:

Now, it’s time to introduce your marinated beef to the sizzling dance. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and let it sizzle. Sear half of the marinated beef, giving it about 3 minutes to become beautifully browned on all sides. The sizzle and aroma are irresistible! Transfer the seared beef to a dish and repeat the process with the remaining half of the beef. You’ll be amazed at how this searing process locks in the flavors.

5. Sautéing and Sautéing Some More:

In the same wok, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil, heating it over medium-high heat. Here’s where the magic happens. Add the thinly sliced red onions and minced garlic, and let them sauté for about 1 minute. They’ll become fragrant and slightly caramelized, infusing your Bo Luc Lac with aromatic richness.

6. Reuniting Beef and Sauce:

Now, it’s time to bring everything together. Add the prepared sauce (soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, vinegar, and sugar) to the wok. Stir well to let the flavors marry and mingle. Then, reintroduce the seared beef to the wok, creating a symphony of tastes that will make your taste buds dance. Toss quickly to coat the beef with the savory sauce, ensuring that every piece is kissed by the incredible flavors.

7. The Grand Presentation:

With the beef and sauce united in savory harmony, it’s time for the grand presentation. Transfer the Bo Luc Lac to a serving plate alongside steamed rice, fresh tomatoes, and crisp cucumbers. The vibrant colors and textures create a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds.

8. The Ultimate Flavor Boost:

Serve your masterpiece with the tangy dipping sauce on the side. This sauce will take your Bo Luc Lac to a whole new level of deliciousness. Each bite of beef, combined with the dipping sauce, will be a flavor explosion that you won’t soon forget.

And there you have it, your masterpiece is ready to be savored. Authentic Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac with Dipping Sauce – a timeless and beloved dish that brings the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cuisine to your table.

Chef’s Notes for the Perfect Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce

Select Quality Cuts:

Why it Matters: The foundation of a stellar Bo Luc Lac is a premium cut of meat. Think striploin, ribeye, or tenderloin—the kind that promises tenderness in every bite. Invest in quality, and your taste buds will thank you.

Fresh Lime Juice is Non-Negotiable:

Why it Matters: Lime juice isn’t just a garnish; it’s a flavor conductor. The acidity cuts through the richness, balancing the dish. Freshness is key here—squeeze those limes like you mean it.

Timing is Everything—Have Your Rice Ready:

Why it Matters: Bo Luc Lac is a hot, sizzling affair, and you don’t want to keep it waiting. Ensure your rice is prepped and ready. The magic happens when the beef hits the plate, piping hot and ready to be devoured.

These tips aren’t just my suggestions; they’re the secret ingredients to elevating your Bo Luc Lac game. From the choice of meat to the citrusy kick, and the timing of your rice, each detail plays a crucial role in creating a Vietnamese masterpiece in your own kitchen so you can enjoy a restaurant-worthy dish in just 30-minutes.

Variations for Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime dipping sauce

There are variations of Bo Luc Lac for those who cannot have red meat. Here are a couple of alternatives that maintain the essence of the dish while using different proteins:

1. Chicken Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Chicken): You can substitute chicken for the beef to create a delicious alternative. Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, diced into bite-sized pieces. Follow the same marinating and cooking steps outlined in the recipe, but adjust the cooking time as chicken cooks faster than beef. The result is a flavorful and slightly lighter version of Bo Luc Lac.

2. Tofu Bo Luc Lac: For a vegetarian or vegan alternative, consider using tofu as the protein source. Use firm tofu, cut into cubes, and marinate it similarly to the beef, ensuring it absorbs the flavors. Pan-fry the tofu until it’s golden and slightly crispy, and then follow the sautéing and sauce preparation steps as in the original recipe. Tofu Bo Luc Lac offers a delightful contrast in textures and a burst of umami flavor.

These variations allow you to enjoy the vibrant flavors of Bo Luc Lac while accommodating dietary preferences or restrictions. Whether you choose chicken or tofu, the aromatic sauce and sizzling cooking process will make for a satisfying and memorable meal.

Origins of Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef”

Bo Luc Lac, often referred to as “Shaking Beef,” is a classic Vietnamese dish that has a rich history and cultural significance. This flavorful and aromatic dish is deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of Vietnam and reflects the vibrant and diverse flavors of the country.

Vietnamese Cuisine: Vietnamese cuisine is celebrated for its balance of flavors, textures, and fresh ingredients. Bo Luc Lac is no exception and is renowned for its use of marinated and seared beef, which is typically served with a delicious dipping sauce.

Influence of French Cuisine: Vietnam’s culinary heritage has been influenced by various cultures, including French cuisine during the colonial period. The technique of searing beef with garlic and black pepper, which is a hallmark of Bo Luc Lac, is believed to have been influenced by French culinary techniques.

Shared Dining: Vietnamese cuisine is known for its communal and shared dining experiences. Bo Luc Lac is often enjoyed in a family or group setting, reflecting the importance of togetherness and shared meals in Vietnamese culture.

Serving Suggestions for Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce

Pairing the main dish, Authentic Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac, with the right sides and beverages can elevate your dining experience. While cucumbers and fresh cherry tomatoes are wonderful choices, here are more options to consider:

Side Dishes:

Steamed Jasmine Rice: A classic and simple choice to complement Bo Luc Lac. The fluffy, fragrant rice balances the savory flavors of the beef.

Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables: These add a delightful crunch and tangy contrast to the dish. Options include pickled daikon and carrot, pickled shallots, or pickled cabbage.

Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls): Fresh spring rolls filled with shrimp, herbs, rice vermicelli, and served with a peanut dipping sauce. They provide a refreshing and light contrast to the sizzling beef.

Fried Rice: A vegetable, egg and crispy garlic fried rice will enhance the dish and sauce will be absorb with the fried rice

Stir-Fried Vegetables: A stir-fry of vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, or snap peas provides a healthy and colorful side.

Beverage Pairings:

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Ca Phe Sua Da): The rich and sweet Vietnamese iced coffee is a delightful way to balance the savory flavors of Bo Luc Lac.

Herbal Tea: Try traditional Vietnamese herbal teas like chrysanthemum tea or jasmine tea, which offer a soothing contrast to the bold flavors.

Vietnamese Beer: Enjoy your meal with a crisp and cold Vietnamese beer, such as Saigon Beer or Bia Hanoi.

Lemonade or Limeade: A refreshing homemade lemonade or limeade with a touch of sweetness can provide a refreshing balance to the dish.

Dessert Ideas:

Che Ba Mau (Three-Color Dessert): This traditional Vietnamese dessert is a delightful combination of colorful jelly, beans, and coconut milk.

Fresh Tropical Fruits: Sliced pineapple, mango, or papaya make for a refreshing and healthy dessert option.

Vietnamese Flan (Bánh Flan): A creamy and caramelized flan is a sweet and silky way to end your meal.

Pairing your Bo Luc Lac with these side dishes, beverages, or desserts will create a well-rounded Vietnamese dining experience that balances flavors and textures while celebrating the vibrant cuisine of Vietnam.

Presentation for Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce

The presentation of your Bo Luc Lac can enhance the dining experience and make your meal even more appealing. Here are some tips to help you create an eye-catching and delectable presentation:


Colorful Components: Use a combination of vibrant ingredients to add visual appeal. The sizzling beef, fresh tomatoes, and crisp cucumbers create a colorful plate that’s visually inviting.

Plating Style: Consider plating individual servings for a more elegant presentation. You can also opt for family-style by placing the beef in the center and arranging the sides around it.

Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle fresh herbs such as cilantro, Thai basil, or mint over the dish. These herbs not only add color but also infuse the dish with fragrant aromas.

Arrange Thoughtfully: Take care in arranging the components on the plate. Place the seared beef as the focal point and arrange the fresh vegetables around it. This arrangement creates a harmonious balance of colors and textures.

Dipping Sauce Dish: Present the tangy dipping sauce in a small, separate dish. This allows diners to control how much sauce they want to use, preventing the dish from becoming overly saucy.


Use Attractive Serveware: Select attractive plates or bowls that complement the colors of the dish. Traditional Vietnamese ceramic dishes or rustic wooden serving platters can enhance the presentation.  You can also use chopsticks for more authenticity.

Clean Presentation: Ensure the rim of the serving plate is clean and free from sauce drips for a polished look.

Consider Texture: Pay attention to texture. The sizzling beef, crunchy cucumbers, and juicy tomatoes offer a delightful contrast that’s visually and texturally appealing.

Personalization: If you have custom dishes or utensils, using them can add a personal touch to your presentation. Chopsticks add to the feel and make the experience authentic.

Remember, presentation is not just about aesthetics but also about enhancing the overall dining experience. A beautifully presented dish can make your Bo Luc Lac feel like a restaurant-quality meal right in the comfort of your home. Enjoy creating a visually enticing and mouthwatering presentation for your guests or yourself.

People Also Ask

What does Bo Luc Lac mean in Vietnamese?

“Bo Luc Lac” is a Vietnamese phrase that translates to “Shaking Beef” in English. The dish is named after the unique cooking technique in which the beef is seared in a hot pan, resulting in a sizzling and “shaking” effect as it cooks.

Why is it called Shaking Beef?

The dish is called “Shaking Beef” because of the distinct cooking method used. When the beef is seared in a hot pan, it produces a sizzling and “shaking” effect. The beef is moved and tossed in the pan, creating a delightful sizzle and ensuring that it cooks evenly on all sides. This shaking motion during cooking is what gives the dish its unique name.

How many calories are there in shaking beef?

The number of calories in Shaking Beef can vary depending on factors such as the cut of beef used, the portion size, and the specific ingredients and cooking methods. Generally, a serving of Shaking Beef with a typical portion size is estimated to contain approximately 300-400 calories. However, for a more accurate calorie count, it’s advisable to calculate the calories based on the specific recipe and ingredients used.

Do I really need fish sauce and MSG?

Well, fish sauce might not win any awards in the smell department, but it’s the unsung hero that brings the flavor to the sauce. And MSG? It’s like the secret agent of taste, adding that extra umami punch to the dipping sauce. Sure, your Bo Luc Lac will still be good without them, but throw in some fish sauce and MSG, and you’ve just taken it to a whole new level. It’s the kind of upgrade your taste buds will thank you for. It’s not as if every dish will have MSG. So give it a shot and see what we’re talking about.

Storage and Reheating Instructions for Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce

Eat it fresh, that’s the golden rule! But hey, if you’ve got leftovers (that medium rare beef deserves a second act), they reheat like a breeze. Quick reminder: whip up that dipping sauce fresh for the full flavor fiesta.

Recommended Products for Cooking Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce


A wok is the VIP of this Bo Luc Lac show. Its shape and design allow for even heat distribution, ensuring that your beef gets that perfect sear. The high sides prevent any culinary acrobatics, keeping everything in the pan.

It’s also efficient. The wok’s quick and even heat means your beef cooks in a flash, preserving its juiciness. This is why wok dishes are usually 30-minute meals. Plus, the tossing action is both fun and functional, evenly coating the beef with those flavor-packed juices.

Wok Spoon:

This is like the wok’s trusty sidekick. The long handle and flat edge make tossing and flipping a breeze. It’s not mandatory, but if you want to speed up the sizzle, this spoon is your culinary companion.

The wok spoon’s design allows you to maneuver the ingredients effortlessly. Speed is the essence of Bo Luc Lac, and this spoon is your ticket to a speedy, delicious meal.

Cast Iron Pan or Large Sauté Pan:

These alternatives step up to the plate. A cast iron pan brings its unbeatable heat retention (just like your wok), while a large sauté pan offers a broad surface for that perfect sear.

It’s also ver versatile. Not everyone has a wok in their culinary arsenal, and that’s okay. These alternatives can still deliver that delightful sear and flavor without missing a beat. Use what you have and when you enjoy more Asian dishes like this one, go ahead and invest in a good one that will last you years. For a link to what we use, click right HERE.

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Bo Luc Lac “Shaking Beef” with Lime Dipping Sauce

  • Author: Rafael Gonzalez
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Bo Luc Lac, or “Vietnamese Shaking Beef,” is a classic Vietnamese dish celebrated for its succulent cubes of seared beef, married with a sweet and tangy sauce. The name “shaking beef” reflects the vigorous tossing and shaking that creates the perfect sear on the meat.


Units Scale

For the Beef Marinade:

  • 2 pounds striploin, diced into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the Sauce:

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon MSG (optional)

Serving Items:

  • Steamed rice
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers



  1. In a large bowl, combine the diced striploin with sugar, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, soy sauce, and vegetable oil. Thoroughly mix to ensure the beef is evenly coated. Let the beef marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, prepare the sauce by combining thinly sliced red onions, minced garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, and sugar. Stir the sauce ingredients together, setting it aside for later.
  3. In another small bowl, mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce: lime juice, salt, black pepper, and MSG (if using). Set aside.
  4. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, then sear half of the marinated beef for about 3 minutes or until it’s browned on all sides. Transfer the seared beef to a dish and repeat the process with the remaining half of the beef.
  5. In the same wok, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the thinly sliced red onions and minced garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute until they become fragrant and slightly caramelized.
  6. Add the prepared sauce (soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, vinegar, and sugar) to the wok. Stir well, then reintroduce the seared beef to the wok. Toss quickly to coat the beef with the savory sauce.
  7. Transfer the beef to a serving plate alongside steamed rice, fresh tomatoes, and crisp cucumbers.
  8. Serve with the tangy dipping sauce on the side, and enjoy your delicious Bo Luc Lac – Vietnamese Shaking Beef, a timeless and beloved dish that brings the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cuisine to your table.

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