Sunday, March 16, 2008


After reading the featured article in the Chronicle about tripe, I felt that I must try it for my first time. As someone who will try just about anything, and often enjoys some of the stranger parts of animals, I figured that tripe should be added to the array of delicacies that I have tasted. I went to one of the great Mexican places on 24th Street in the Mission and bought a bowl of menudo. The broth was a deep, blood red with an abundant amount of glossy bubbles of rendered fat. It had a rich, almost gamey tomato flavor, and was livened up with spicy and aromatic flavors of chili peppers. As I fished through the depths of the murky broth I found long but thin chunks of honeycomb tripe. This was it...

As I began chewing I was not surprised to find the texture to be similar to that of tongue or very fatty pieces of beef. It was chewy with a slight resistance to the teeth that allowed for the flavor of the menudo to be fully appreciated by the tongue. It was a unique flavor. Its roots were definitely in the realm of steak, but it had the gamey flavor similar to lamb, with an almost sour aftertaste. It was also possible to detect the remnants of the bleach used to clean the tripe. This may have been some of the sour flavor, or else the slightly bitter taste of the meat.

I can't say that the menudo was my favorite of the exotic meats I have tried, it seems to be an acquired taste, and maybe it will come some day.

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