I love to cook, but with a 5-month-old at home, efficiency is key. Lately we’re trading the clad skillet for the masher and a bowl of bananas. Last night the mood for Vietnamese struck, but sadly we have no good options in Napa and until the Slanted Door decides to open up shop here we’re left to fend for ourselves. Pho would be the obvious choice, but gathering all the accouterments and simmering a rich, authentic broth from scratch was out of the question. Enter Vietnamese Shaking Beef, an absurdly simple dish that will blow away your tastebuds.


Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef) is a classic in Vietnam. It combines a quick soy marinade with lime sauce, and is usually served over greens with rice or noodles on the side. We’ll get to the recipe below but first you’re gonna want a beverage to enjoy with the meal.

The wine pairing

2013 le Cecche Langhe Riesling

This crisp Riesling from Le Cecche, a producer we LOVE at Last Bottle (keep your eyes peeled for their killer Barolo) works perfectly with the tangy, bold flavors. It hails from Italy, specifically the Langhe region in the north, near Piedmont. Langhe is home to some great Italian whites, but Riesling is NOT typically one you’d associate with the area.


This is a dry style Riesling for sure. Lemony yellow in the glass with bright aromatics hinting at what’s to come – a nice balance of bright lemon/lime, honeysuckle, stone fruit and light petrol flavors. Stainless steel fermentation gives the wine a racy acidity and gravel/sandstone soils bring a touch of minerality, adding nice structure and depth to the tropical flavors.


While off-dry Rieslings pair nicely with spicy dishes, shaking beef doesn’t offer up any heat. This lime aspect in the recipe really heightens the wine’s lemon/lime notes and the wine’s acidity slices right through the bold flavors, leaving you salivating for the next bite. Plus the modest 12.5% alcohol means you can easily enjoy a whole bottle few glasses. Just lip-smacking good stuff.

The Recipe

We aren’t professional chefs, and this isn’t a recipe blog, so instead we’ll serve up two slightly different variations of shaking beef. You can spin (shake?) this recipe a bunch of ways. Serve it on a bed of watercress with tomatoes like I did, or use some crunchy butter lettuce with a little toasted rice. You make the call.

Gastronomy Blog – This version borrows some inspiration from the famous Slanted Door recipe.

Rasa Malaysia – The closest to my rendition above, with fresh tomatoes and red onion making it more like a salad.

Some unsolicited tips:

  • Use prime top sirloin or filet if you’re a baller. Try flank steak if you want to budget.
  • Toast plenty of garlic for toppings. I was slightly devastated when I finished and realized I forgot them on the counter.
  • Find some fresh ramen noodles and toss them with garlic butter for a tasty companion.