A classic Vietnamese dish similar to the Italian carpaccio - it's rare beef cured in lemon juice and served with a dipping sauce and roasted peanuts.


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) sirloin, trimmed of fat and sliced as thinly as possible

  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon fine white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic oil, reserved from frying garlic

  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped and fried

  • 1 large handful saw-leaf coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

  • 1 large handful rice paddy herb, roughly chopped

  • 1 large handful bean sprouts

  • 1/2 small red onion, finely sliced

  • 2 tablespoons dau phong rang (see below)

  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced

  • nuoc mam cham, to serve (see below)

  • Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce

  • Makes 250 ml / 1 cup

  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) fish sauce

  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) rice vinegar

  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) water

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 bird’s eye chilli

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • Phong Rang - Roasted peanuts

  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups) vegetable oil

  • 250 g (9 oz) raw shelled peanuts


  • 1.

    Combine the lemon juice and fish sauce then stir through the salt, sugar and pepper, and mix well.

  • 2.

    Arrange the sirloin on a single layer on a plate and marinate in the lemon mixture for 10 minutes, ensuring all the meat is covered.

  • 3.

    Remove the sirloin from the lemon mixture and gently drain the excess juice. Combine with the herbs, onion, garlic oil and bean sprouts.

  • 4.

    Turn out onto a serving plate and garnish with the peanuts and chilli. Dress with extra nuoc mam cham at the table.

  • Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce:

  • 1.

    Combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat.

  • 2.

    Stir well and cook until just before boiling point is reached, then allow to cool.

  • 3.

    To serve, finely chop the garlic and chilli and stir through with the lime juice.

  • Dau Phong Rang - Roasted peanuts:

  • 1.

    Put the oil in a wok and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Carefully drop the peanuts in the oil with a slotted spoon, and stir until they turn a vibrant golden colour. Remove to absorbent paper and allow to cool. Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground.

  • 2.

    The roasted nuts will keep in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Sauce recipes also in Secrets of the Red Lantern

Like this recipe? Subscribe to our newsletter to get more recipes like this delivered striaght to your inbox.

By registering you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Privacy Notice

Metric Converter

Tell us what you think in the comments below


Sign Out

Click to Rate

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.

4 4 4 4 4
Average Rating
0 comments • 3 ratings