Weekly Salad 6: Bò Lúc Lắc – Vietnamese Shaking Beef with Watercress




There are a lot of fantastic versions for this dish. At restaurants, they will sometimes serve this with crispy fried potatoes or rice. I often make this just as a salad with no rice or potatoes. It’s quick and easy dish that I can put together for a weeknight meal. Sometimes, I’ll quickly pickle the shallots in vinegar and sugar before topping the final dish. Here, I’ve added them to the stir-fry. I use tomatoes whenever they’re in season. Watercress is great this time of year, so I find myself making this dish quite often.



INGREDIENTS: (4 servings)

For the beef marinade:

  • 1 lb. (~454 g) beef sirloin, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoons (5 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon 2 tsp. (10 g) raw sugar
  • 2-3 small cloves garlic, mince

For the salad:

  • 1 Tbl. vegetable oil
  • 1-2 bundles of watercress, torn into approx. 1.5 inch (~4cm) sprigs
  • 3 med-large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tomatoes (quartered) [when in season]
  • fresh cracked pepper


  • Wash, dry and prepare the watercress. Set aside.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the beef marinade and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes. Add the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the beef (along with marinade ingredients) and quickly stir-fry [shaking] it until seared on the edges, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • When the beef is done, add the shallots, quickly tossing them to combine and turn off the heat.
  • To plate, arrange the watercress on the plate and top with the beef [and then the tomatoes]. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over the entire dish. Serve warm.


Bon appétit!



12 Responses to “Weekly Salad 6: Bò Lúc Lắc – Vietnamese Shaking Beef with Watercress”

  1. Maria Says:

    I first heard of shaking beef at The Slanted Door in San Francisco (yum . . .) and then my blog pals and I made some for a southeast asian dinner last summer. It was lovely — but I’ve been wondering about the “shaking” part ever since. You think it’s a description of the preparation method?

    I want to eat this salad soon. Except I keep saying I’ve eaten too much meat this winter.

  2. holybasil Says:

    Maria – Shake or Shaking is a rough translation of lúc lắc – so I think it’s indeed a description of the preparation method. Thanks for the question. I hear you on eating too much meat…we’re trying to limit our beef consumption to once a week. We’re on vacation mode right now, so that rule is stretched a bit.

  3. Warda Says:

    This must be delicious! I usually use chicken or fish in salads, but never beef. I will have to try it.

  4. White On Rice Couple Says:

    Another great Viet dish! That’s why you’re interesting and you’ve been tagged! Details at :

  5. Rasa Malaysia Says:

    So Shaking Beef is the real name? I often see this at Vietnamese Restaurant and thought it’s a made up name.

  6. Chuck Says:

    I love bo luc lac. Thanks for reminding me to make it. I grew up eating a non-traditional bo luc lac salad with watercress, tomatoes, sliced hard boiled eggs and a light vinaigrette. Even though it was a salad, we would still eat it with bowls of rice.

  7. Anh Says:

    oh yum yum! I will have to try my version then ur version, too! I love shaking beef!

  8. mycookinghut Says:

    Love watercress. They go well with prawns too!

  9. Jen Says:

    I was wondering about the “shaking” too – that’s so cute! I think your Monday salads are going to bump this category of foods into my top ten, because they are all so mouth-wateringly gorgeous.

  10. Wandering Chopsticks Says:

    One of my readers said the name is also because the cubed beef looks like dice, luc lac. Both explanations work for me. 🙂

  11. Jen Says:

    Hey yo! I tagged you for a meme – even though someone else did too 😉


  12. holybasil Says:

    Warda – I would love to see how you would adapt this recipe using your spices.
    WhiteonRice – Thanks – I’ll check it out soon!
    RM- I think quite a few of Vietnamese dishes sound made up.
    Chuck- I eat this with sliced, hard boiled eggs too. Thanks for reminding me of that.
    Anh – can’t wait to see your version.
    Mycookinghut – Yes, prawns would be great. I’m making note of that right now 🙂
    Jen- Thanks, girlfriend! I’m glad to hear salads are inching up on your list —not that you need any help burning calories after tele-mark skiing 🙂
    WC- I never thought about that…thanks for the info!
    Jen- Thanks – I’ll check it out 🙂

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