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Bò tái chanh – Vietnamese beef carpaccio


beef carpaccio Vietnamese style, bo tai chanh

When we went to eat sushi once, my friend wondered aloud who the first man that ever ate a raw oyster was. “Did he just open it and think, ooh, look at this, om nom nom?” Live oysters do look kinda weird – messy, and very…um, raw. But then I thought, eating raw things must have come very naturally to our ancestors, who couldn’t always make fire or choose when/where to eat. We cooked things to avoid diseases, but now that we have medicine and all kinds of preventive treatment and processing for the food themselves, eating raw food comes back in vogue (and has always been in vogue in Japan).

I love raw food – it’s amazing to taste how flavorful the protein is just by itself, without seasoning. In Vietnam, because food spoils so quickly in the hot weather, and because of low standards for food hygiene, everything must be cooked. Bò tái chanh is one of the very few things that we eat almost raw, which is funny because it would take a lot to convince a Vietnamese to have a piece of steak cooked medium rare. Usually the beef is left to cook by the acid for a while, but we had no problem with raw beef, we started eating when it was only medium-rare.


1/2 pound of beef, sliced thin (any cut will do, softer cut like tenderloin will fare better, but if you slice it thin it doesn’t matter, really)

1/2 a pineapple, cut into really small chunks (if you don’t like to eat pineapple you can juice 1/4 a pineapple and lift the meat out after it marinades/cooks )

Juice of 2 limes

Culantro or cilantro or mint or all, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 tbs of oil

Fish sauce, to taste (about 2 tbs)

1. Saute half the onion until brown in a little bit of oil.

2. Mix everything together except the herbs, wait about 30 mins-an hour till it cooks in the doneness you desire.

Wow, most awesome recipe ever! 2 steps yeah yeah!


7 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. HEY FRIEND, clarifying question: when you say that you started eating it when it was medium rare, do you mean that you let the acid cook it until it is medium rare? THANKS. /c


      • I think I’m going to do this tomorrow when it’s supposed to hit 86 degrees. Thanks for sharing!

      • yup, this is perfect for a hot day. Boston marathon tmr, I have the day off but have to take care of my taxes aaaa

  2. Pingback: A slice for your thoughts | Stine Yearns

  3. bo tai chanh hay bo bop thau o VN lam deu phai tran qua thit bang nuoc soi, an thit bo song nhu the thi ghe qua


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