There is a famous dish that is often served during Tet and other special celebrations in Vietnam: roasted veal.
It can be found in many parts of the country, but the most authentic version is believed to be in Cau Mong, a small rural neighborhood in Dien Ban District of the central province of Quang Nam.
Cau Mong roasted veal has been known for more than 50 years.
In 2013, it was recognized as one of the top 50 Vietnamese famous dishes by the Vietnam Book of Records.
If you come to Cau Mong, you can find the dish at any smoke shops or restaurants.
The calf used to make this dish usually weighs around 40 kilograms.
Western cooks often roast their beef in an oven using different parts of the cow. In Vietnam, a whole young cattle is roasted over an open fire until the skin blackens.
The blackened outer layer of skin is then scraped off, and then the veal meat is sliced thinly and arranged on a dish.
The best roasted veal will have a pinkish color while the skin is thin and the meat is very tender.
Veal meat is believed to be much more tender and sweeter than beef. Maybe it is the method of roasting a whole calf that makes Vietnamese veal very special.
When a dish of veal is put on the table, it is usually accompanied by a lemon, cut in two. People say the veal needs some fresh lemon juice.
Roasted veal is served with fresh herbs, roasted sesame rice crackers, pickled green papaya, cucumber, green bananas, chili, garlic and of course, a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sesame, chili and garlic.
Some people are so eager that they pick up a slice of veal with chopsticks and dip it in the sauce to eat right away.
But the best way to eat, locals say, is to put veal meat, herbs, pickles, cucumber and banana slices in a thin rice paper to make a roll, and then dip the roll in the sauce.
All the tastes are so well combined in your mouth: the sweet, delicate flavor of the veal goes really well with the minty herbs, the fragrance of roasted sesame, the crunchy cucumber and pickles and the spicy taste of the sauce.