Culi-Temp Corner: Tripe, the Forgotten Meat

Tripe is the name given to the four stomachs (offal) of ruminant mammals, who acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialised stomach prior to digestion, principally through bacterial actions.[1] Tripe is available from veal, cattle and pigs; however, veal tripe is the preferred variety, because it is white in colour and has a more pleasant smell. There are four different varieties of tripe on the market: blanket or flat tripe, honeycomb tripe, book tripe and reed tripe (figure 1).[1] These varieties are similar in flavour, however they differ in texture. The colour varies from white to a creamy-yellow that depends on the gender of the animal from which it was obtained from; although, the colour does not affect the quality of the protein. Unprocessed tripe is an unattractive khaki colour but some recipes that call for long cooking specify uncooked and unbleached tripe as being of better flavour.[1]

Tripe soup is a dish proprietary to Romanian cuisine, and according to folklore, it is said to be a hangover remedy.[2] Although it is the Italians, with their Trippa alla Romana and Trippa alla Fiorentina, and French, with their Tripes à la Mode de Caen, who get most of the mention.[3] Australian cookbooks from early pioneering period instruct how to prepare tripe from newly slaughtered cattle: "Take part of the paunch and wash thoroughly in cold water and soak for 12 hours in salted water. Then dip into scalding water and the inner skin can be peeled off easily. It is then ready for cooking or can be salted for keeping."[4] The recommended recipes reflect our colonial origins.

Today in Australia, tripe is almost always cleaned, bleached and par-cooked before it appears in quality butcher shops ready for the pot. Lacking its own gelatine, bovine tripe is often cooked in combination with a calf’s hoof or pig’s trotter, or pork rind, all of which are rich in gelatine, to make some of the most famous and necessarily time-consuming dishes. The blanket and book tripe are preferable for slow cooking, because they are less likely to disintegrate, unlike the honeycomb variety. However, honeycomb tripe remains the favourite type that you will see on menus owing to its interesting visual appearance and ease of preparation and cooking.

All tripe is an excellent source of calcium, essential vitamins B12 and B3, low in fat and free of any natural sugars, making it a healthy protein option.[1] Check out the "Busecca" (tripe soup) recipe and give it a go at home.

Figure 1. Different types of tripe available.


  1. Wikipedia: The free encyclopaedia. "Tripe", FL: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved on: 23 June 2015. Available from:

  2. Wikipedia: The free encyclopaedia. "Tripe Soups", FL: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved on: 23 June 2015. Available from:

  3. Aleksandra Mojsilovic. "The Magnificent Offal: Шкембићи y Caфтy aka The Ancient Tripe", Three Little Halves. Retrieved on: 23 June 2015. Available from:

  4. Tripe Facts & Lore. "Tripe Facts & History". Retrieved on: 23 June 2015. Available from:


  1. Wikipedia: The free encyclopaedia. "Tripe", FL: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved on: 23 June 2015. Available from:

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