There is something about tripe that sends me into ecstatic excitement. I can remember my Nan cooking tripe and onions as a child. Not sure if I ever ate it back then, as I was a fussy kid. I still won’t eat brussel sprouts.
Tripe or mondongo in Spanish, hence the name of the restaurant, Mondongo’s.
They do of course sell the typical foods of Medellin. Bandaja Paisa; frijoles; carne asado. But you can get that anywhere. The one and only reason I goto Mondongo’s, is to eat Mondongo.
There are 3 restaurants in this chain. One near to the University where I am studying Spanish at the moment. One in Poblado, and one bizarrely enough in Miami. The Mecca for all Latinos.
The stew or soup that they serve comes in 2 sizes. A normal size, which they call the half size, and a slightly larger version, which would easily make Mr Kresote a content man. As I’ve commented before, I can only ever eat the baby portions, which still leaves me full and content.
It comes with a few accompaniments. A slice of avocado, a couple of small arepas, rice (of course), a slice of fried platano, a bowl of finely chopped coriander, and jars of sweet chilli, and a hotter version.
You can order a few extras, like, chicharron, morcilla and the like.
When the bowl of steaming soup arrives. I gaze at its beauty. This bowl of offal, which some many people find repulsive, sends shivers up my spine. I immediately scatter over some chopped coriander and a good hearty spoonful of hot chilli sauce, lastly is a squeeze of lime. I give this a mix around, and dip my spoon in and fill it to its limits.
What most people hate about tripe, is it’s smell. Thankfully this soup does not smell of anything but goodness. The initial taste is of the freshness of the lime, the herbyness of the coriander and then the spiciness of the chilli. The tripe only shows itself in the texture of its honeycombed body. The small potatoes are only there to beef up the stew, and a good job they do as well. The base of the stew is a rich chicken stock, as most soups here are, even the vegetable soups.
You also get a quarter slice of avocado. Which always gets left behind on my plate. Rice, which I spoon into the soup and moisten it with the soup broth. A banana is present also, to which I have never been able to figure out why, but I eat it nonetheless. It doesn’t make the soup any better, but I like bananas, so I don’t complain. The small arepas, just fill me up, again I like them so they get eaten also.
I sometimes have an extra order of chicharron and fried platano also. I love the crunchiness of fried pork skin and the sweetness of the platano. It’s pure heaven.
I’m still waiting and probably will wait for a while longer for their bean stew. It’s been saying soon for quite a while now. But as soon as it’s available I will break a habit and try something different in the Holy Temple of Tripe.