• Stir-fried lemongrass beef with warm vermicelli noodle salad. (Benito Martin)Source: Benito Martin

“The Duchess of Northumberland introduced to me to a lot of ingredients - some with aphrodisiac qualities - so I wanted to cook something that would impress and excite her! This is a classic Vietnamese dish called bun bo xao which features many of those elements.” Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (75 votes)


  • 500 g piece beef sirloin
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cm piece ginger, julienned
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt and ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp fried shallots (see Note) 
  • 1 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
  • thinly sliced spring onion (scallion) and red chilli, to serve


Fish sauce vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced


Vermicelli salad

  • 100 g dried vermicelli noodles, cooked as packet instructions
  • 4 fresh lychees, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 1 dragon fruit, peeled and diced
  • 8 mint leaves, sliced
  • 8 Vietnamese mint leaves, sliced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Slice the beef into 2 mm-thick strips and place in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the chopped lemongrass, all the fish sauce and half the garlic. Toss to combine well, then stand to marinate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the vinaigrette, place all the ingredients in a jar, seal and shake to combine well.

Heat half the oil in a large wok over very high heat and stir-fry half the beef and the marinade just until browned. Remove from the wok and repeat with the remaining beef and marinade. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add a little more oil to the wok, then add the onion and the remaining lemongrass and garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes or until fragrant. Return the beef to the wok, add the sugar, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry for another 30 seconds or heated through. Remove from the wok and set aside.

To make the salad, combine all the ingredients and 80 ml (⅓ cup) of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, then place the lemongrass beef on top, scatter with the fried shallots, peanuts, spring onion and chilli and a little more fish sauce vinaigrette and serve immediately.



• Asian shallots are available from Asian supermarkets.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgi Larby.


Artistica pasta bowls from Tomkin.


Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom starts Thursday 14 May 2015 at 8pm on SBS ONE and finishes 2 July 2015. Visit the Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom website to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes or find out moreabout the show.