Roast Pork is not only a speciality of Lang Son but also an inevitable gift between the two families in a wedding of the Tay (and Nung) ethnic group. Unlike that in other parts of the country, the roast pork in Lang Son is cooked with a special kind of leaves called Mac Mat. Mac Mat Leaves usually grow on the stone mountains; they have a unique smell, a sweet yet sour taste. Chilies, garlics, wild limes, the unsurpassable skill of the cooks in Lang Son, and Mac Mat Leaves constitute an unprecedentedly great flavor for the Roast Pork dish.
The cook usually chooses a 25kg or 50kg pig to roast. After dissecting the pig, he removes the organs and dries the inner parts of the pig. Then, he puts Mac Mat Leaves and other spices inside the stomach and sews it. Next, he uses a long yet steady bamboo stick to hang the pig above the hot charcoals and spin it. However, no matter how strong he is, the cook cannot do the spinning all on his own. Normally, two or three people take turn to spin while applying on the pig a special sauce made of honey and spice to make the skin crispy. It is also important to use a towel to wipe off the fat produced from the roasting process.
It usually takes about 3 hours to finish roasting, but the time might vary according to the shape and size of the pig. We can check if the meat is cooked by using a stick to poke the skin. A dark-color juice means the meat is ready to be served!
The final roast pork has a yellowish color and an irresistible smell of roast meat and the Mac Mat Leaves. Because the stomach is sewed, all the juice inside the body of the pig cannot leak out. As a result, even though the skin outside is so crunchy, the meat inside remain soft and chewy. When eating, never forget to try the sauce inside the pig as well because it contains all the good tastes of the dish, especially that of Mac Mat Leave!