I earlier described how the word “tripe” is a flag of convenience for several types of organ meats, and that, encountering it on a menu, you can never be quite sure what you’re going to get. Most commonly, the word connotes honeycomb tripe, the well-washed stomach of a cow, which has a glistening white appearance when properly prepped.
It can be used, for example, to mean the small intestine of a pig, which is also known in English as “chitterlings,” or, in African-American dialect, “chittlins.” Mexicans are very fond of chittlins, too, and they used the term “tripas” to described them. So, while you may expect honeycomb tripe when you order the tripas taco at your local taco truck, what you’re going to get is rubbery, thin-bore porcine intestines, heavily sauced. If you want honeycomb tripe, order mondongo, a term that refers both to a soup and to its main ingredient.
The small intestines of pigs form the basis of this Mexico-City-style tripas taquito.
View plenty more organs here.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 28, 2009