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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Savory mac mat roast pork recipe

By Phuc An

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When venturing into Lang Son Province, travelers should seize the opportunity to relish the delectable roast pork, crafted with a unique recipe that encapsulates the flavors of the northeastern region.

A secret ingredient in this dish is the mac mat leaf, scientifically known as clausena indica. These leaves are easily found in Lang Son Province and are frequently employed in roasted or grilled dishes due to their distinct aroma, which enriches the food’s essence.

After being cleaned and boiled to reduce their pungent scent, the mac mat leaves are minced with dried onion, garlic, chilies, and an assortment of spices. This mixture is then stuffed inside the pork before it undergoes the roasting process.

The choice of pig is crucial, typically opting for one weighing 25-30 kilograms to create this specialty. Pigs that are too large or too small can impact the dish’s quality. The pig is meticulously cleaned, its organs are removed, and the inner belly is dried. The mac mat leaf mixture is then added to the belly before it is sewn shut. Finally, the pig is hung on a stable pole and roasted over embers.

The roasting process typically spans 2.5-3 hours. The excellence of the roast pig hinges on the adeptness of the cook. Ensuring heat is not excessive, so the pork cooks uniformly, is a skillful balancing act. While rotating, the cook applies a blend of honey, water, and a touch of vinegar to the pig’s skin.

This concoction bestows a glossier and crispier texture to the skin while preventing it from cracking under high heat. As a result, the pork retains its succulence and authentic flavor within. This distinction is what sets Lang Son-style roast pork apart—the skin is delightfully crisp while upholding its smooth exterior.

Served with a side of dipping sauce, fresh vegetables, rice noodles, banh mi, or rice, this dish caters to the preferences of discerning diners.

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