A Food Trip With Tripe

Columns Ono, You Know

September 1, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

Tripe may be hard to stomach for some, as it is the stomach lining of an animal’s belly, after all, but sometimes we have to avert from our squeamish ways and take it all in full throttle. Beef tripe is the name of the game this week, and believe me, here at the following Ono, You Know locations, tripe is dressed to impress. To dress the tripe, the stomachs are cleaned and the fat trimmed off. It is then boiled and ready to be transformed into an edible work of art. Are mouths already watering?

The history of tripe dates back to Victorian times, when tripe was deemed a nutritious and cheap dish for the working class. While the number of tripe aficionados has rapidly declined throughout the years, there are still a good amount of tripe fanatics who crave this rubbery, meaty alternative that, when paired with stews or salads, can be ultimately delicious. You can say the taste of tripe resembles fatty beef.

So, without further ado, let’s embark on a food trip with tripe. This chewy stuff is incorporated into a variety of dishes and is totally Ono, You Know!

Pimtong Thai Cafe

The vast metropolis and engaging countryside of Thailand may seem like a world away, but for those food enthusiasts who are more enthralled by exotic Thai cuisine there’s a relatively new place in town that caters to the palate that’s craving authenticity. Enter Pimtong Thai Cafe. Owner Pim Banks opened this Kalihi eatery nearly a month ago, and shines the light on edible works of art created from traditional Thai recipes.

Take Tripe Salad, for example — sure, it may not be a well-known Thai favorite, but Banks says it’s a dish that originates from northeastern Thailand, which features a vegetable medley of lettuce, mint, cilantro, carrots and green onion paired with roasted rice and tripe. The salad is splashed with a dressing comprised of lemon juice, fish sauce and a dash of sugar, thus presenting a refreshing blend of flavors.

“The tripe is chewy in texture and it goes well with the crisp, fresh vegetables,” Banks explains.

Tripe Salad is a current house specialty that Banks recommends all tripe lovers take the opportunity to sample.

“Other restaurants offer a lot of tripe dishes, but I think we’re one of the few establishments that offer tripe in a salad.”

Pimtong Thai Cafe welcomes takeout orders in addition to its dine-in service and can also handle custom catering orders.

Pimtong Thai Cafe
1311 N. King St.

Shiro’s Saimin Haven

If you begin to salivate at the mere thought of tripe, then Thursday is the perfect day to take your appetite to Shiro’s Saimin Haven in Waimalu Shopping Center. Renowned for its oodles of noodles, this local hot spot also cooks up three creations dedicated to this particular cut of meat. Tripe Stew ($8.65), Tripe Stew Saimin with Wun Tun, Vegetables and Garnishes ($8.35) and Tripe Stew with Lau Lau ($9.35) are beloved by many of Shiro’s loyal customers, and, of course, it’s the careful preparation of the stew that claims all the glory.

“Tripe is the inner stomach lining of a cow,” says manager Bryce Fujimoto. “We clean it very well and boil it all day until it gets tender, and also to get rid of the impurities.”

A tomato base is the foundation of the stew accented by bell peppers, carrots, Portuguese sausage and morsels of tripe.

“When you order tripe stew with wun tun saimin, the stew is served on the side and some people like to mix it with the saimin or choose to eat it separately,” Fujimoto explains, adding that the traditionalists prefer Tripe Stew as is with two scoops of rice and a side of vegetables.

And for a full-on kanak attack, a hefty portion of stew is served with Shiro’s famous pork lau lau. Now, that’s a dish that is local to the max.

“Shiro was a fan of tripe stew, and our version is actually made from his own personal recipe,” Fujimoto says. It’s been a special on our menu forever!”

Shiro’s Saimin Haven
Waimalu Shopping Center
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy.

People’s Cafe

If you ask any kamaaina, they will tell you that People’s Cafe is at the center of it all for Hawaiian and Filipino grinds in the heart of downtown Honolulu. The restaurant, which has been in business for 80 years, is located on Pali Highway and dishes up tripe stew daily! Priced at $7.50, this entree consists of tasty pieces of tripe swimming in a rich stew of tomato paste and tomato puree intermixed with slivers of carrot, celery, potato and round onions.

“Tripe stew is almost like beef stew. It’s very popular here. We make a lot of stew every day,” says head chef Thomas Ventura.

Pour this delicious concoction over heaping scoops of rice and you’re golden!

People’s Cafe
1310 Pali Hwy.

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