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Qu'est-ce que c'est? De-mystifying Chicago Restaurant Menus: Tripe

By L. Stolpman in Food on Apr 11, 2008 3:00PM

Tripe.jpgYou'll find tripe on the menu at Italian, Greek, Asian, and Mexican restaurants, along with others. So what exactly is this commonly used ingredient?

Tripe is the lining of the stomach and may be from a cow, pig, or sheep. Most commonly appearing on menus is beef tripe. The cow has two stomach chambers that offer up three different kinds of tripe. From the first stomach comes a plain, or smooth, tripe. It is the second stomach that provides the best quality tripe, known for his honeycomb texture. The end of the second stomach also provides what is known at "pocket tripe."

The taste is relatively mild and tripe is better known as a texture food, with its often slightly chewy texture. If you see Menudo (Mexican), that's tripe soup. Let's look at some specific Chicago menus where you can find tripe:

La Gondola: Tripe Florentine - with fresh garlic, spices, and onions with marinara. (A dish served à la Florentine is typically served on a bed or spinach or incorporates spinach and is often, though not always, served with a mornay sauce. Mornay sauce = béchamel sauce + cheese. Béchamel sauce is made by stirring milk into a butter and flour mixture.)

Sun Wah Bar-B-Q: Noodles with five spice beef tripe, egg noodles or rice noodles. (Five spice powder incorporates the five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory.)

Next time you're out, give tripe a try!

La Gondola is located at 2914 N. Ashland Ave.
Sun Wah Bar-B-Q is located at 1132 W. Argyle St.

Photo by Dipfan