vietnamese food

snowpea&bokchoi / Flickr

Vietnamese New Year was officially Thursday, but the festivities in New Orleans East have just started. The largest of these events is a three-day Tet festival hosted by Mary Queen of Vietnam Church (14001 Dwyer Blvd.) beginning Friday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Drawing in thousands of locals and visitors from across the region, the neighborhood festival features live music, dancing, fireworks and, of course, exceptional Vietnamese cuisine. Food writer Ian McNulty gives Poppy the scoop on what dishes to sample this weekend and why you should arrive with an empty stomach.

Ian McNulty / WWNO

The "salt-baked" dishes at a Gretna Vietnamese restaurant are neither baked, nor particularly salty, but they sure are delicious.