dinner/entertaining/meat/recipes/vietnamese food

Vietnamese Braised Beef Tacos

Posted May 27, 2015 by Stephanie
vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

Are you guys fans of throwing dinner parties? I absolutely LOVE having people over for dinner. Mike, on the other hand, isn’t such a fan. He thinks I get a little too crazy with the prep and planning. So I’ve started to scale it back and throw more casual get togethers. I get to cook, friends and family get to eat, and everyone’s happy.

vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

Back when I first started throwing real “grown-up” dinner parties, I actually did kind of go all out. I’d make ten thousand dishes, freak out when people didn’t arrive on time (the food was getting cold!) and generally be a mess. It was enjoyable, but not enjoyable, you know? Now, I’m much more forgiving on myself and on my guests. Show up whenever, because usually what I’m serving is something that isn’t time sensitive.

vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

One of my favorite things to do is make a main dish that tastes even better the next day – think braises, stews, or certain meaty pasta sauces. Un-time sensitive things let you concentrate on your guests instead of worrying if the food is done perfectly or not. Braises are incredibly forgiving and they taste amazing. Here I did up a giant pot roast with Vietnamese flavors. I shredded up the meat and put it in the middle of the table along side garnishes for a DIY style taco party.

vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

DIY or assemble it yourself (salad rolls, noodle bowls, takoyaki) dinner parties are absolutely the best. Everyone gets to customize things to their own taste and plus, it’s super fun and hands on. It takes the pressure off plating everything perfectly and really just lets you sit back and enjoy the company. Speaking of enjoying company, are you the type to start washing up while guests are still over or do you just move everything to the kitchen to be dealt with later?

vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

It used to drive me crazy – I would want to start cleaning up as soon as everyone was done eating, but I quickly realized that cleaning kind of made people feel like they had to pitch in and help, which was totally not my intention. I think I picked up that bad habit from my mom – she hates letting dirty dishes sit around.

Funny story about my mom and just about every Asian mom I know out there. Dishwashers are not machines. Nope, dishwashers are your sons and daughters or may be even your son’s and daughter’s friends. Whenever my mom hosts a big party, someone always gets roped into doing the dishes, even though she has a perfectly good dishwasher just waiting to be loaded up. She’ll just use the dishwasher as some sort of giant drying rack.

And the funny thing is, I did too, until Mike and I moved in together. He told me it was ridiculous to wash a giant load of dishes by hand (plus sometimes you end up using more soap and water than the dishwasher). It took a little while, but I’m totally a convert now. My least favorite chore isn’t so bad when I load everything into the dishwasher and pop in a little Cascade Platinum pod. It makes cleaning up so much easier. Now if only there was a machine to load the dishes into the dishwasher…

vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com

I’ll keep dreaming about that! In the mean time, here are some tips on throwing a successful dinner party:

  1. Make something that can reheat easily and isn’t time sensitive: a casserole, braise, or even just a bunch of ingredients that can be put together as a dish at the table.
  2. A little DIY action never hurt anyone. People love customizing their own meals, so put them to work – they can assemble their own bowls, tacos, or even sushi rolls.
  3. Starters and desserts are best when simple. Who doesn’t love a cheese plate or fresh fruit? Also, starters and desserts are generally what people offer to bring over. When people ask if they can bring something, let them!
  4. Don’t sweat the clean up, either before or after. Tidy up a bit, but don’t go all crazy and shampoo your carpet. Also, don’t forget, the dishwasher and Cascade Platinum are your friends – they want to help!

Vietnamese Braised Beef Taco Recipe
serves 4-6


  • 2 1/2 lb boneless chuck roast cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon five spice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste

To Serve

  • tortilla shells
  • sliced green onions
  • roughly chopped cilantro
  • sliced shallots
  • sliced jalapeños

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Season all sides of the pieces of beef generously with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven, heat up the oil over medium-high heat. Deeply brown the beef in batches, making sure to brown all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. If the pan is dry, add a touch of oil. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and beef to the pot, as well as the tomatoes, beef stock, star anise, cinnamon stick, five spice, brown sugar, bay leaf, and fish sauce. Bring up to a gentle simmer, cover and place in the oven to braise until the beef is fork tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise and bay leaf from the pot and discard. Remove the beef from the sauce and shred with two forks. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Return the meat to the sauce. (At this point, you can refrigerate if desired. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring often. Add a touch of beef stock if dry).

Serve the meat with charred tortillas, sliced shallots, cilantro, green onions, and jalapeños. This also tastes excellent tossed with pasta or over potatoes.

PS – How awesome is the light in the lead photo? I’m loving the late evening sun!
PPS – Also, yes, this is a sponsored post, but seriously, yesterday Mike loaded the dishwasher (my hero :)) with a regular pod and our dishes weren’t as clean as using Cascade Platinum. I was like, *insert swear word* this stuff works!

This post was sponsored by Cascade Platinum. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help keep I am a Food Blog up and running!


vietnamese beef stew tacos - www.iamafoodblog.com


  1. I recently had my first dinner party which was super fun but I kept it super simple with frittatas, sweet potato fries with guac and fruit and crudites and dips and infused waters: it was so much fun!
    Love the sound of these tacos! What a fun idea!

  2. Whenever my family has a party (so not really a dinner party, oops) all the moms/aunts/girl cousins end up washing the dishes post-dinner and pre-dessert. It works for us because we can still chitchat, and the host woman doesn’t have to stay up late to clean up.

  3. Love you photography style. Food looks Delish.

  4. Bec says:

    Looks fantastic. I could say ditto to everything in this post! x

  5. Nicola says:

    Oh my gosh, I thought my mom was the only one who did that! She told me the dishwasher was just for drying and that it couldn’t possibly get the dishes clean enough….so, for years, I only hand washed dishes as well!! This looks like a lovely taco party!

  6. Emily says:

    I want to try and make this in a pressure cooker – lately I have been in a serious love affair with my instantpot. I will report back if I make it work!

  7. dammmnnn steph, you know how to fill a taco alright. this is epic.

  8. Love the entertaining tips, I stress myself out when people come over too. I’m usually running around watching things in the oven, making sure anything on the stove doesn’t burn but also cleaning everything manically and then in between trying to straighten my hair. Eek.

    And I’m a dishwasher convert too, in Brazil we didn’t have a dishwasher (or washer and dryer, so insane!) so my mom didn’t like using it. She even tried to not use the dryer and just hang clothes to dry….too bad Canada is not really hanging-clothes-weather-friendly.

  9. Abby says:

    Ooh, these tacos look amazing, Stephanie! And hahah, I can relate to the dishwasher thing.. my family actually doesn’t have one *GASP*, and my brothers and I have been the ‘dishwashers’ for as long as I can remember. :D

  10. Billy says:

    Ohmygod that light in the lead is Insane. Also I want all the tacos.

  11. Oh Lordy…. You and dishwasher.. My fav.

  12. cynthia says:

    omg this is so incredible and all your words speak RIGHT to my soul. “Dishwashers are not machines” = I LOL’ED. So, so, SO true! Down to the “giant drying rack” — yes. Can you believe we had a dishwasher in our old apt and I never once used it? It’s totally my least favorite chore too so I’m wishing I’d gone your route and converted. (Although now we don’t have one..so I guess that would have been futile..) ANYWAY, these tacos look in-cred-ible. I totally love your idea of DIY dinner parties!! Your friends are too lucky to have you hosting these shindigs. And oh my goodness, these photos are too stunning. The spread takes my breath away. All of this is beyond epic, Steph!

  13. Mabel says:

    SO TRUE about dishwashers and Asian families. Its sole purpose is a drying rack. nothing more haha. Love the idea of vietnamese taco!

  14. Gaby says:

    Oh my! This looks so dang delicious!!

  15. Stephanie, these photos are stunning. The first photo with the spread of all the dishes, etc? The light and shadows across the tablescape are magical. So crisp and beautiful. I remember my first “grown-up” dinner party, not too long ago. I definitely freaked out and hehe… actually had a “trial” dinner beforehand. I’m pretty paranoid like that :).

  16. Lucy says:

    these tacos look so good! i always love throwing a great dinner party and this is the perfect dish to serve!

  17. The light in that lead photo? Perfection. And DAYUM I wish I had a dishwasher. And a taco.

  18. Haley Musial says:

    I agree with Mike, dishwashers are a gift from the heavens. My husband however does not. He thinks you should hand wash everything, and be it he’ll do the best job ever, it might take him a month. This might be a passive aggressive reference to when he was a bachelor and I was dating him. :) :) :) And dude…. lead photo is KILLER!

  19. Alana says:

    Ummm yes to everything. Those tacos are totally speaking to me. Also, I generally go overboard and make way too much of everything but am taking your new approach this weekend and apply it to our cocktail party. And hahaha I literally LOL’d f’real about the dishwasher part. Moses tried to use our dishwasher as a drying rack forever–but I definitely got my way and made a convert out of him!!

  20. Jess says:

    Oh wow these look amazing! I’m definitely going to give this one a try.

  21. Emily says:

    So with you on all of your dinner party sentiments. We make your bahn mi pork tacos all of the time and love having people over for those! These sound equally awesome!

  22. Looks like an Excellent recipe!!!, going to give it a go tonight.

  23. Ilona says:

    Hi there from the Netherlands! Made this yesterday (including the charred tortillas, jalapenos, shallots and lots of scallions and cilantro, as we’ve got an abundance of those in the garden) and it was absolutely awesome! My boyfriend declared it was the best dinner we had in weeks. :) I’ve got some leftovers with me for lunch today at work, but I’m trying to restrain myself from eating it for breakfast. It’s 07:25 in the morning over here :o)
    So thanks for a lovely recipe! Will take a picture of it next time I make it, promised. :) Xxxx

  24. It really is nuts how effective those pods are!!! I always have tannin stains in my mugs (from tea) and those pods remove them completely!!!

    PS. Absolutely in LOVE w/ that top picture.

  25. Rebecca says:

    Any idea of how long to cook the beef if you used a slow cooker? The meal sounds delicious, but it’s way too hot for me to turn on the oven!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hey rebecca, i haven’t tried in the slow cooker, but i’m guess at least 6-8 hours on low :) let me know how it goes!

  26. Elyse says:

    Made these friday night for my boyfriend and I. SO YUM!!! & had leftovers on Sunday afternoon that were perfect. I topped ours with avocado, mint & lime as well because we had it in the fridge. Thanks for the recipe!! Definitely adding it to the repertoire

  27. Sarah says:

    Gah, my German mama does the same thing with the dishwasher!! She often misses out on conversation because she just can’t. Sit. Down. Until. Dishes. Are. Clean. It’s unfortunate, and I CRAVE CONVERSATION, so I for sure am gonna leave those dishes until everyone’s gone! Loved this post, saving it everywhere on social media lol.

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