Tripe turns out to be a rather ambiguous term in English. The foremost meaning, as far as Fork in the Road is concerned, is the stomach lining of a cow, which is also known sometimes as honeycomb tripe, due to the texture of its surface, which is crosshatched in a way that makes it look like a beehive. But tripe can also mean the small intestine of the cow, pig, or other farm animal, known to African-Americans as chitterlings. Finally, the broader meaning of the word “tripe” in English is “something poor, worthless, or offensive,” a metaphor that shows the outsider status conferred by the consumption of organs and other so-called variety meats.
Prepared properly, beef tripe is washed exhaustively, giving it a glowing, near-white appearance. This erases traces of the stomach acid that can give improperly washed tripe an off-flavor. Some of the best tripe we’ve had lately is found in the Latin American soup called mondongo. At Puerto Rican old-timer La Taza de Oro (“The Golden Cup”), the mondongo incorporates bits of potato, orange pumpkin, and cilantro, and it’s amazingly tasty. At $3.75 for a small bowl, the dense soup is often recommended as a hangover remedy. 96 Eighth Avenue, 212-243-9946
Delicious mondongo is a great deal at La Taza de Oro, and a hangover remedy, to boot.