Tripe soups

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Tripe soup
Tripe soup from Turkey.jpg
Tripe soup (işkembe) from Turkey
Course Soup
Main ingredients Offal (Tripe)

Tripe soup is a common dish made with tripe (cow stomach) in Balkan, Eastern European and Turkish cuisine. It is widely (not universally) considered to be a hangover remedy.[1][2][3][4].

Names and Etymology[edit]

The Turkish name işkembe çorbası, meaning "tripe soup", consists of işkembe ("stomach/tripe"), çorba ("soup"), and the possessive affix -i that links the two words. It came from Persian shekambe (شکمبه, "rumen") and shurba (شوربا, "soup"), from Arabic shurba (شربة‎ "soup"), which is derived from the verb shariba (شرب "to drink"). Cognates include the English sherbet and syrup, as well as Arabic sharbat. Some South Slavic languages borrowed the dish name from Turkish: as škembe čorba (шкембе чорба) in Bulgarian and Macedonian, and as škembić (шкембић) in Serbian and Bosnian.

The Polish name flaki, literally meaning "guts" being the plural of flak ("guts"), came from German Fleck ("spot"), from Middle High German vlëc Old High German flec/flek, from Proto-Germanic *flekka- ("spot/mark"). Flaczki, the diminutive of flaki, is also used to refer to tripe soups in Poland. Croatian fileki is a cognate. German names for tripe soups include Kuttelsuppe and Flecksuppe ("tripe soup"), as well as Saure Kutteln and Saure Flecke ("sour tripes"), as the words Kuttel, Fleck, and Kuttelfleck can all mean "tripe".


Middle East and Southestern Europe[edit]


İşkembe çorbası

In Turkey, tripe chorba is generally made of cow's stomach and eaten usually with a vinegar-garlic sauce added on the table or with the addition of an egg yolk-lemon juice (called terbiye) in the kitchen, after cooking and before service. Although the general name işkembe çorbası is very common, especially at the traditional restaurants dedicated to this soup, offal of cow and sheep and kelle (sheep head meat, especially cheeks, baked) are also offered. A dish can be ordered and made from the various parts of the stomach: "Tuzlama, işkembe, şirden and damar". As in several other countries, it is seen as a "hangover remedy" and finds itself a place in almost all New Year's Eve menus, served right after midnight. This has been the case since the 1800s, when it was first reported as a popular soup among Ottomans to consume immediately after a session of heavy social drinking, usually of rakı.[5]


Shkembe chorba

In Bulgaria, a whole pork, beef or lamb tripe is boiled for few hours, chopped in small pieces, and returned to the broth. The soup is spiced with ground red paprika which is briefly fried (запръжка), and often small quantity of milk is added. Traditionally, the soup is served with mashed garlic in vinegar and hot red pepper. There is a variant of the soup with intestines instead of tripe.

The soup was very popular with the working classes until the late 1980s, and there were many restaurants serving only shkembe chorba (шкембеджийница, "shkembe-restaurant"). Later they were replaced by fast food restaurants but the soup is still highly regarded, and is part of the menu in any cheap to moderately-priced restaurant. Office workers avoid eating shkembe chorba at lunch, or eat it without adding garlic.


In Croatian cuisine, it is known as Fileki, Tripice or Vampi.


Ciorbă de burtă

The Romanian name for the sour tripe soup is ciorbă de burtă (from ciorbă 'sour soup' < Turkish çorba + burtă 'tripe'). The Romanian ciorbă de burtă is similar to ciorbă de ciocănele (soup from pork legs). Ciorbă de burtă is often seasoned with vinegar, sour cream (smântână) and garlic dip (crushed garlic mixed with oil), called mujdei. The Romanian journalist Radu Anton Roman said this about Ciorbă de burtă: "This dish looks like it is made for drunk coachmen but it has the most sophisticated and pretentious mode of preparation in all Romanian cuisine. It’s sour and sweet, hot and velvety, fatty but delicate, eclectic and simple at the same time.[6]"


In Serbia, this soup is made of fresh tripe cooked with onions, garlic and paprika. It is usually seasoned with fried bacon and more garlic, sometimes thickened with flour (запршка). Some versions of shkembe chorba are made with milk; garlic, vinegar, and chili peppers are often added as seasoning.

Central Europe[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

The Czech version is heavily spiced with paprika, onions and garlic resulting in very distinct spicy goulash-like flavour. The Czech name is drštková polévka, often shortened to drštkovka.


Saxon Flecke
Swabian Saure Kutteln

There are a number of different German versions of this sour soup from southern parts of the country, including Bavaria, Saxony and Swabia. Seasonings include lard, onions, garlic, meat broth, wine vinegar, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. In the nineteenth century in parts of the German Empire that are now Poland (like Silesia), "Flaki" was a street food. The tripe was cooked with long bones, celery root, parsley root, onions, and bay leaf. The tripe was then sliced, breaded and fried, and returned to the broth with some vinegar, marjoram, mustard, salt, and pepper.


The Hungarian name is pacalleves or simply pacal.


Polish flaczki or flaki

The Polish name is Flaki or Flaczki which is a traditional Polish meat stew. It can be an acquired taste, but is one of the many soups that are an important part of the Polish diet.[7] Its name is derived from its main ingredient: thin, cleaned strips of beef tripe (in Polish: flaki - which can also be literally translated to "guts").

Flaki has been consumed on Polish territory since the 14th century. It was one of favorite dishes of King Władysław II Jagiełło.[8]

The method of preparation may vary slightly depending on the region. Some common ingredients include beef tripe, beef, bay leaf, parsley, carrot, beef broth, and spices to taste, including salt, black pepper, nutmeg, sweet paprika, and marjoram. Ready-made convenience-type equivalents of the labor-intensive flaczki are available.[9] Sometimes pork tripe can be used instead of the beef tripe especially in the ready-made versions of the dish sold in Poland.

Tomato concentrate is sometimes added to flaki, and some may cook the tripe without a roux. A popular addition to improve the 'nobleness' is the addition of meatballs, which are often found in a regional variant known as 'flaki po warszawsku' (Warsaw-style flaki). Ready-made flaki in cans or jars are widely available in grocery stores throughout Poland which also include "Flaki po Zamojsku" (Zamość-style Flaki). A variant of flaczki, in which fowl stomach is used instead of cow’s, is also known and called ‘flaki drobiowe’ (poultry flaki). The soup is traditionally served during Polish weddings – as one of 'hot meals'. Flaki is eaten with fresh bread, usually with bread roll.


In Slovak cuisine, it's known as držková polievka. The Slovak name is držková polievka

Similar dishes[edit]

A similar dish made with trotters, called pache or pacha (Albanian: paçe, Bosnian: pače, Bulgarian: пача, translit. pača, Greek: πατσάς, translit. patsas, Turkish: kelle paça) is found in the Turkish, Greek, Balkan, and East European cuisines.

In Romanian cuisine, if sour base made of fermented wheat bran called borş is used in sour tripe soup, the sour soup is called a borş, not a ciorbă.[10]

In Hungarian cuisine, pacalpörkölt is a tripe soup heavily spiced with paprika.

Soups made with tripe are also found in French cuisine (tripes à la mode de Caen), Italian cuisine (trippa alla fiorentina), Mexican cuisine (menudo), and Caribbean/Filipino/Latin American cuisines (sopa de mondongo).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dana Facaros, Linda Theodorou, Greece, Cadogan Guides, p. 110
  2. ^ Heidi Johansen, Fodor's Mexico 2010, p. 443
  3. ^ Annie Kay, Bulgaria, Bradt Travel Guides, 2015, p. 57
  4. ^ DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Istanbul, 2014, p. 199
  5. ^ Eugene Rogan (4 October 2002). Outside In: Marginality in the Modern Middle East. I.B.Tauris. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-86064-698-0.
  6. ^ Des poissons sur le sable by Radu Anton Roman (ro), Éditions Noir sur Blanc, publié en 1997
  7. ^ Friedel, Mieczyslaw W. (1978). This Polish blood in America's veins: sketches from the life of Polish immigrants and their descendants in America, illustrating a part of American history unknown to most Americans. Vantage Press. p. 20.
  8. ^ Snodgrass, Mary Ellen (2004). Encyclopedia of kitchen history. Taylor & Francis. p. 898. ISBN 9781579583804. Retrieved 8 November 2010. Jagiello demanded fresh tripe, a favorite meal that the royal cook prepared with ginger, nutmeg, pepper, allspice, paprika, bay leaf, and marjoram.
  9. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2007). The Oxford companion to American food and drink. Oxford University Press. p. 468. ISBN 9780195307962.
  10. ^ "Traditional Vegetarian Russian Cabbage Soup (Shchi)". Retrieved 23 March 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Halbański, Maciej (1987). Leksykon sztuki kulinarnej. Warsaw: Watra. ISBN 83-225-0106-4.