Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weird Food Wednesdays: Tripe

Beef tripe, one of my top 10 favorite foods! For real.

If tripe is on the menu, I will order it. I have such a weakness for it that my husband has used it to bribe me (usually to get me to spend time with my in-laws).

Yes, it's the stomach of a cow. Get over it. Do I have to remind you what's in a hot dog? There's just something so unique about the flavor of tripe that keeps me coming back for more. So unique, in fact, that I'm kinda at a loss for words on how to describe it (tripe lovers, please help me out here!)

I've seen tripe described as gamey or barnyard-y, but I think those words tend to be overused when referring to offal or leftover cuts of meat and only result in scaring people off. 'Gamey' makes me think of mutton. And 'barnyard-y' is how I might describe a fresh goat cheese, but not tripe. The flavor's actually really mild. Earthy? No, mushrooms and truffles are earthy, not tripe. Grassy? Not really, but I do find something kinda bright and fresh about it. And the texture will vary depending on the cooking method and the kind of tripe used (a cow does have 4 stomachs, afterall) but can range from pleasantly crunchy to melt-in-your mouth tender.

I usually satisfy my craving for tripe at
dim sum restaurants or Asian noodle houses, but I've also enjoyed a hearty tripe gratinée at Pastis (NYC) and a tender stewed tripe in marinara sauce at an Italian wedding in Long Island.

Growing up in a Chinese family, I probably ate tripe more often than hamburgers. And from what I can remember, I've always liked tripe and never had to acquire a taste for it. But I couldn't help but wonder whether my fondness for tripe is purely nostalgic.

This is where Hubby Kris comes in handy, he's still an offal 'novice' but always such a good sport when dealing with one of my weird food obsessions. I've made Hubby Kris try beef tripe several times at dim sum, and since he's never objected, I've always assumed he liked it. I managed to get in a quick Q&A session while hubby was getting ready for work this morning:

Tell me how you feel about tripe.

Good morning to you too. Tripe,'s just OKAY. I don't hate it or anything. But it's not something I would ever order on my own.

Why not?

Is this for Weird Food Wednesdays?

Just answer the question!

Well...cause it doesn't really taste like anything. And it's chewy, like calamari.

But you LOVE calamari!

Yeah, but that's because it's battered and deep fried. How come no one ever deep fries tripe?

***end of Q&A***

So what I've gathered from this conversation is that my hubby is currently indifferent about tripe but would probably love it if I battered and deep fried it for him (flashback to
tempura gefilte fish). Hmmm...maybe my undying love of beef tripe does stem from childhood memories.

Well, perhaps I can entice you with some yummy dim sum photos...

Beef Tripe stewed in a delicate ginger and scallion sauce at
The Orient Restaurant, Bethpage NY:

I almost ate the entire dish myself! Fragrant ginger and scallion, crunchy, chewy, and texturally interesting with the tiny bumps of the
bible tripe:

Stewed Beef Tendon with Beef Tripes at
Golden Harvest Restaurant in Vancouver, BC:

Juicy succulent pieces of
honeycomb tripe stewed in a glistening curry garlic sauce (natural nooks and crannies deliver more of the mouthwatering sauce in every bite):

Golden Harvest used to offer this dish with beef tripe only, so I was initially upset that some of my beloved tripe was replaced by tendon. But the tendon was awesome - gelatinous melt-in-your-mouth perfection (and hubby's favorite):

An interesting surprise in the bottom of the dish - french fries to soak up the excess sauce (or what my cousin Francis jokingly referred to as 'Chinese poutine'):

So I bet you're dying to try it now, right?


Seriously, guys...just trust me on this one, it's really GOOD. Yeah, I know, I still haven't given you a good answer about the flavor of tripe. But you know who'd be a good person to ask? The person who developed the simulated tripe flavor for
Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean. I mean, there can't actually be ground up tripe in a Jelly Belly, right?

And my darling hubby will be thrilled to learn that people actually do deep-fry tripe:

Here's the recipe:
Deep Fried Tripe from UK chef Fergus Henderson

Well, if dim sum and deep fried tripe don't float your boat, check out Wikipedia for an
extensive list of international delicacies that feature tripe (menudo, mondongo, and pacalpörkölt are next on my list). So go out and get your tripe on!

p.s. This will be my last weekly installment of Weird Food Wednesdays :(

p.p.s. I'm not retiring WFW for good, I just won't be doing it on a self-imposed weekly deadline anymore :)



Heavenly Housewife said...

I've never tried this but I know grandmother had quite a bit of it as a child. Back in the Depression it was a very popular food (when people didn't have money for regular meat they used to eat a lot of other animal parts that we dont really tend to eat today). I think Kris is right, maybe if you battered and deep fried it... ;)

OysterCulture said...

Yeah! I knew a post on tripe had to be in the making for Weird Food Wednesdays! I never had tripe growing up, even though my mom would frequently get gizzards (another WFW?) which always seemed to be place close together. My first experience with tripe was in a can of Menudo - yes canned - I was in the middle of Iowa had heard about menudo and that is all I could get access to. Needless to say, the first experience did not knock my socks off, but it did not put me off it either. I love all the diverse offerings you feature here. Thanks for sharing!

KennyT said...

p.s. This will be my last weekly installment of Weird Food Wednesdays :((((((((((((((((((

When I still ate beef, I loved tripe too, now you can be relieved, coz no one will be fighting for good old tripe dim sums with you, haha

Jenn said...

This is one wierd food that I love. There's this one soup dish in the Philippines that occasionally uses tripe. I remember my aunt would cook it in a red sauce of some kind. I haven't had that in a while. Mmmm...

Anonymous said...

I've never tried tripe though I do know about it. I think I may like it deep fried too :) I hope you still continue to post about the weird foods on any day of the week!

Phyllis said...

Heavenly Housewife: Recession or not, I would seriously eat tripe everyday if I could!! :D

OysterCulture: Gizzards actually scare me a little - think it dates back to seeing my mom prepare them when I was little. But I welcome any suggestions on how to enjoy them! And menudo in a can? Sounds fascinating. I bet I would actually like it (I've never met a tripe I didn't like) And I highly recommend trying tripe at dim sum. I know you have some great dim sum places in SF so you have no excuse ;)

Kenny: Haha, Kenny, now we can finally go for dim sum!!

Jenn: So when are we getting together to eat tripe, watch TNG and sing karaoke? :)

5 Star Foodie: I have a feeling that your sophisticated taste buds would actually enjoy tripe (even without the deep frying) :) I hope you do try it one day!

Jackie at said...

I'm always pleasantly intrigued by your "weird food" posts (love all the tropical fruits) but this one is a no no for me. I've tried, didn't like the texture... I agree with Kris. Let's wait for next week's "weird food" :)

Phyllis said...

Jackie at Hey Jackie :) Sorry to hear you aren't a tripe enthusiast! Did you try the honeycomb or the bible tripe? Maybe you'll like the other kind better!

Cookie said...

I remember a similar dish we used to get at Dim Sum. I LOVE the texture of tripe! So chewy and yummy!

Phyllis said...

Cookie: YAY, another tripe lover. I was beginning to think I was weird or something :)
And your blog is adorable! I wish I could say I worked out all the time (LOL).

Teanna said...

I've never had tripe and have been DYING to try it! It's good to know that a restaurant in Long Island has tripe - I am definitely putting that onmy list to check out!

Anonymous said...

I love tripe! Yeay for posting about it! I wish there were more adventurous eaters in the food blog world :)

Phyllis said...

Teanna: I hope you get to try it :)No need to go all the way out to Long Island, lots of places in NYC to try tripe: Babbo (tripe parmigiana), Casa Mono, dim sum or noodles in Chinatown, Vietnamese pho, Szechuan restaurants, Mexican menudo, the list goes on and on...

Rebekka: Hi! Thanks for visiting :) I just knew there were other tripe lovers out there! Your blog is lovely, so many yummy recipes!

lululu said...

oh, i love tripe!
it's the only internal organ i'd eat. i love its texture and the way it's cooked is always full of intense flavours!

Tangled Noodle said...

Tripe is awesome! I share your love of offal and tripe is definitely at the top. My husband has been converted, too (although he's not convinced by chicken feet).

Regarding Jenn's comment about a Filipino dish using tripe - it's a dish called 'callos' and I am determined to make it. This post just strengthens my resolve!

I'm happy to hear that you're not retiring WFW and I totally understand the need not to be tied to a schedule. Blogging, like cooking, should be all about inspiration - give us WFW when the fancy strikes! 8-D

Phyllis said...

lululu: a fellow Vancouverite :) Welcome and thanks so much for your comment! Tripe is pretty awesome but I hope you venture further into the wonderful world of offal someday! Start off with some foie gras. Or sweetbreads. And I've heard tongue is pretty good too...
(great blog b/t/w!)

Tangled Noodle: Omigosh I just googled "callos" and it looks amazing (totally drooling now!) I can't wait till you make it so I can steal the recipe ;)
And yes, this is certainly not the last you'll see of WFW (I'm still 100% a weird food girl, I just had lardo, crispy pig head, and tendon for dinner last night - YUM!)
p.s. shameful to admit this, but like Mr. Noodle, I'm not convinced about chicken feet either!

CheapAppetite said...

I don't mind tribe but I like pork stomach more. But the dish you show looks really great. I would love to try it:) Growing up it Thailand, I used to all kinds of internal organs from chicken, pig and cow. But never try the brains or cow testicles (mountain oysters)

{kiss my spatula} said...

ohhhh tripe goodness! i love it!

Jennifer said...

are you not doing this site anymore???? i just found it....

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Disgusting.
HUmans will eat anything, Complete garbage, you'll eat it!


Anonymous said...

Can I take the images from your website. You have taken them very nicely. Thanks

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