Vietnam: Bò Tái Chanh

Restaurant: Pho Saigon Noodle & Grill null
Address: 6180 Jarvis Ave, Ste T
City: Newark, California

My sister’s birthday is coming up! She was craving bò tái chanh, also known as Vietnamese beef carpaccio, and found a restaurant nearby that served it!

Pho Saigon’s bò tái chanh had thin slices of rare beef with lime, peanuts, basil, and jalapeño ($10.95 USD).

The Ravenous Couple tells us how bò tái chanh is prepared:

Even though it’s a classic Vietnamese dish and really simple to put together, it’s uncommonly found in Vietnamese restaurants. A direct literal translation to English means “rare beef lemon” but that just doesn’t sound appealing. It’s similar to carpaccio in that it’s thin slices of beef– except that it’s cooked with the acid from citrus–so is it more like a meat ceviche? You might be reminded of rare pieces of beef in pho tai without the pho.

This is a great appetizer that can be served alone, with shrimp chips, or black sesame rice crackers (banh da). Beef round eye and tenderloin are great cuts for this dish but you can fancy it up with filet mignon if you wish. Have your butcher slice it as thin as possible for you.

Traditionally, the meat is cooked by citrus acid, but we always make large quantities and don’t have the time to wait. So we use a shortcut which we think still tastes great. Fill half of a medium size sauce pan with pineapple juice and heat to a rolling boil. Quickly “blanch” some of the beef a bit at a time, no more then a few seconds or so removing it as it turns slightly opaque but still quite rare. Place in large mixing bowl.

Add the lime or lemon juice mixture and mix well, letting the acid do the rest of the cooking about 15-20 minutes, but use your judgement as to when to remove it from the acid. We like it pretty rare. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid from the meat. Mix in the onions, rau ram and drizzle with a bit of nuoc mam dipping sauce (don’t over do it as you don’t want to overpower the fresh citrus taste) and mix well and adjust to taste. Transfer to serving platter and top off with crushed roasted peanuts, shallots, and jalepeno.

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