Try this traditional Cambodian dish by the name of beef lok lak! It contains stir fried beef strips marinated in soy sauce. Serve this dish with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and a traditional peppery lime dip on the side. Delicious!
Have you any idea what Cambodian food looks like?
This beef lok lak is one of the staple dishes in Cambodian cuisine. You can find it in pretty much every restaurant, food stall or street shack over there.
But what is it to be more specific?
Beef lok lak is basically marinated beef that you stir fry quickly to sear it nicely. The marinade contains strong flavors such as soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce. Traditionally this beef lok lak stir fry appears on your plate in the excellent company of crispy fresh lettuce, freshly sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, raw onion and a delicious peppery lime dipping sauce.
And that’s how I like my beef lok lak best.
But I have also come across versions of this Cambodian beef lok lak dish in more touristic places that come with French fries, (fried) rice or a fried egg as an option to chose from. Which is also a good idea, especially if you want to serve this beef lok lak as a main course.
I prefer to keep it vegetables only for lunch though.
Beef Lok Lak (Cambodian Beef Recipe)
I usually eat everything just as one dish like you eat steak or chicken with veg.
But here you can also wrap the beef strips in a lettuce leaf and add a bit of the raw vegetables to it. Just dip your lettuce wrap in the lime sauce.
There you go.
The lime dipping sauce is very easy to make as well.
Combine some freshly ground pepper, a pinch of salt and the juice of one lime. I’ve also seen this dipping sauce in Vietnam before, where you get it with grilled fish and rice paper.
Vietnamese vs. Cambodian
There’s this other Vietnamese dish that is almost similar to Cambodian beef lok lak. Even the name, Bo Luc Lac in Vietnamese meaning shaking beef.
Have you heard of that one before?
Do you love Asian beef and steak recipes in rich sauces?
Then also take a look at my beef and noodles in black pepper sauce! It’s totally different in flavor from this Cambodian beef recipe, but also worth giving a try!
Cambodian Beef Lok Lak Recipe
- 10,5 oz steak (300 g)
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 medium garlic clove mashed
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar or palm sugar
- 1 tsp tomato ketchup
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- Rinse the steak and pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Then slice it in the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) into bite-size bits.
- Combine the soy sauce, the oyster sauce, the fish sauce, the mashed garlic, the sugar and the tomato ketchup in a shallow (baking) dish or deep plate. Season with some pepper.
- Stir well and then add the sliced steak.
- Stir well again until the steak has been fully coated. Then cover the plate or dish with some cling film and place it in the fridge for at least an hour to marinate.
- After that, pour the vegetable oil in a medium non-stick pan and place it over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated beef.
- Quickly stir fry the beef in the hot oil for a couple of minutes until cooked through. Check the seasoning of the meat and add extra pepper, or fish sauce to taste if necessary.
- Then take the pan off the heat. Combine the juice of the lime with a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper into a dipping sauce. Transfer the cooked beef onto plates and serve with fresh lettuce, sliced tomato and cucumber, the lime dipping sauce and some raw onion.
What do you know about Cambodian food, or Khmer food?
Of course you can say now that you know what Cambodian beef lok lak is!
That is indeed a very popular dish there. But it goes much further as well.
One of the most popular fish dishes for instance is called fish amok or amok trey. It is a mixture of fish, coconut milk and spices such as ginger, kaffir lime and lemongrass. You steam it in little banana leaf ramekins.
Crab is also very popular. Especially in a seaside village called Kep. The hubs and I stayed there for about a week and we ate fresh crab every day. Our favorite version? Steamed crab with green kampot pepper.
Do you like Asian style noodle soups?
Then you will adore this Cambodian kuy teav! It is a popular roadside noodle soup with rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, herbs, fried onion and shallots, garlic and hoisin sauce. A delicious lunch option!
Have you heard of a green mango salad before?
You can also find it in Thailand for instance. And in Cambodia. This delicious salad contains ingredients such as shredded green mango, shallots, fresh mint and condiments like fish sauce and soy sauce.
And then the funny stuff…
Fried tarantulas, scorpions, frogs… and balut. The famous fertilised duck embryo.
Not for the faint of heart obviously.