No. 12: Braised Tripe at Royal Seafood
This was once a cow's stomach, and don't ask me which one.
Honeycomb tripe is a staple of the dim sum menu. At Royal Seafood, the julienne of deeply brown strips has been extensively marinated and then steamed, leading to a degree of plumpness rarely experienced in tripe cookery.
Royal Seafood produces one of the city's best renditions, served with a bright red chile oil that colors the lips and opens up the sinuses. The stomach strips (the honeycomb increases the surface area of the organ, speeding absorption of nutrients) are chewy and tender, not at all like big rubber bands. I swear. In this version, there's no discernible skank, though some cultures prefer that aspect of tripe.
You might already be familiar with Royal Seafood under its previous two names: Oriental Pearl and Dun Huang. Both precursors seemed to have the same staff, and dim sum of similar high quality. Go especially for the dim sum -- the evening Hong Kong menu is just OK -- and arrive before 1 p.m. if you want the greatest selection (before 11 a.m. if you want to enter within five minutes).
Royal Seafood 103-105 Mott Street 212-219-2338
100 Days/100 Dishes is an almost-random alphabetical collection of delicious dishes from around the five boroughs. See the entire series so far.
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