Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

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Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bò Lúc Lắc) is an easy and delicious one-pan meal that is excellent for everyday meals as well as special occasions. This dish features tender and flavorful beef plated on a bed of greens and fresh tomatoes.

a plate of Vietnamese shaking beef (bo luc lac) placed on a bed of greens and tomatoes.

The name of this dish in the US. comes from the way it is cooked. The cook adds beef to a hot pan and then shakes the pan constantly to cook/sear and move the meat around. It is a one-pan meal that can be put on the table in 30 minutes.

This Southern Vietnamese dish is a popular menu item in a lot of restaurants in the US. I think it is even more popular in the US than in Vietnam. I wouldn’t rank shaking beef in the top 50 popular foods in Saigon. In Vietnam, it is often served with rice or fries.

The dish tastes best with well-marbled beef steak. I like to use ribeye after trimming off excess fat because it’s very flavorful. You can pick other good quality cuts of beef steak that you like.

Is This Recipe Authentic?

While I always aim to share the most authentic flavors in my Vietnamese recipes, reflecting how they taste in Vietnam, this recipe is not 100% authentic. Traditional shaking beef usually has seared beef cubes, onions, and bell peppers tossed with a sweet-savory sauce. Besides soy sauce and oyster sauce, the sauce often includes ketchup which has a rather sharp (and a bit artificial) taste, which doesn’t pair well with premium beef in my opinion.

If you want to make authentic shaking beef, click over to my Vietnamese beef pasta (nui xao bo) recipe and use the stir-fry sauce in that recipe instead. For this recipe, I use rice vinegar and a bit of sugar to balance the taste instead of using ketchup.

See more: Other recipes using beef cubes to try:

Essential Tips

a plate of Vietnamese shaking beef (bo luc lac) with a bowl of rice on the side.

Most home kitchens don’t have high-power stove like those at restaurants. Therefore, it is harder to make bo luc lac by using a wok in which we can shake the beef around since a traditional wok works best on a powerful gas stove.

So when you make this dish at home, it is best to use a heavy-bottomed pan like a Lodge cast iron pan to get a good sear and finish cooking quickly although these pans would be too heavy to shake…

Make sure to heat your cast iron pan until it is very hot. If the pan is not hot enough, we can’t get a nice sear, and we would be steaming the beef instead, and when we add the sauce, the dish will become soupy.

It takes less than five minutes to cook the dish. Anything longer than that, you may overcook the meat. We want to aim for medium doneness for the beef. Therefore, have all ingredients ready before you start cooking.

Note: the post was originally posted on March 16th, 2018. It has been updated with new photos and revised instructions in April, 2024.

a plate of Vietnamese shaking beef placed on a bed of greens and tomato slices.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) is an easy and delicious one-pan meal that is excellent for everyday meals as well as special occasions. This dish features tender and flavorful beef plated on a bed of green cress and fresh tomatoes.
Author: Sophie
5 from 1 vote
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 people


For the beef

  • 12 oz beef steak (such as ribeye)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • black pepper
  • cooking oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 stalks of scallions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • tablespoons butter

For the soy sauce mixture

For the salad

  • 2-3 soft lettuce leaves, chopped
  • 1.5 oz microgreens (about 2 cups)
  • 2 small or medium ripe tomatoes


  • Dice the beef into 1¼ inch thick cubes. Marinate with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon sugar, plenty of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon oil. Set aside to come near to room temperature.
    diced beef cubes in a mixing bowl.
  • Thinly slice red onion. Cut scallions into 1½ inch long pieces. Mince the garlic.
    Other ingredients for Vietnamese shaking beef (Bo Luc Lac)
  • Arrange the lettuce, micro greens, and tomato slices on a serving plate.
    a plate with tomato slices and chopped lettuce, micro greens.
  • In a bowl, combine all ingredients to make the soy sauce mixture. Taste and adjust the sauce to your liking, set aside.
    a bowl containing the sauce for Vietnamese shaking beef.
  • Place a wok or a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high. When the pan is hot, add oil and then add the beef cubes. Sear for 30-45 seconds until browned and then flip to the other side, sear for another 30-45 seconds or until browned. Work in batches if needed.
    beef cubes being seared in a cast iron pan.
  • Add onion slices to the pan, stir-fry the beef and onion for about 30 seconds. Then add minced garlic and the white parts of scallions. Stir and cook briefly until garlic is fragrant.
    seared beef cubes and onion slices in the pan.
  • Add the soy sauce mixture, shake the wok or stir to coat the beef with the sauce. Then add the butter, constantly stir and cook until butter melts completely and everything is combined. This step should be done very quickly to avoid over-cooking the beef.
    beef cubes and aromatics in the pan with the sauce.
  • Add the green parts of scallions, quickly mix together and then transfer the beef to the serving plate on top of the greens and tomatoes.
    a pan of Vietnamese shaking beef just finished cooking.


Try to aim for medium doneness for the beef. Adjust cooking time as needed.
It is possible to add diced bell peppers to the dish. If you want to do so, in Step 5, heat the pan over medium heat and then sauté the diced bell peppers to your desired doneness. Set them aside, increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook the beef. Then when you add the butter in Step 7, also add back the bell peppers.


Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 1266mg | Potassium: 942mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 4695IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bo luc lac, shaking beef
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⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on FacebookYoutubePinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

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  1. I am surprised to know the explanation for Vietnamese Shaking Beef. I am sure that writer did not spend time studying the reason why it is called by this name. Originally, this dish is from French. It is called Bo Xuc Xac in which bo means beef and xuc xac mean dice. The way the beef is cut looks like the dice. South Vietnamese usually pronounce xuc xac to luc lac.

    1. Hi Hau,
      I want to clarify that the explanation in the post is for why the dish has that name in the US. I did not claim that was also the reason why Southern people named the dish “bo luc lac”. I am originally from the North and I haven’t heard of the “xuc xac” explanation before. Thank you for providing another explanation.

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