Porto – The Tripe Eaters
22 Nov, 2016, By Manuel A.
They call us tripe eaters. They’ve been doing it for centuries.
Anywhere else in the world people would have taken this as an insult, but here in Porto we have come a long way, and we are actually extremely proud of what’s behind that rude nickname. In fact, we use the nickname ourselves.
According to the legend this nickname dates back to the 15th century, from when Portuguese soldiers were preparing to conquer Ceuta, the ancient town in the north of the African Continent. As a part of the “war effort” the king asked his people to spare all the food they could. To this plead the city’s people answered with all their humility and generosity: all the ships leaving Porto to battle were full with the best vegetables, fish and meat, leaving the ones inland with nearly anything but the animals’ guts.
When Henry the Navigator – the King’s son, the most important military chief at the time, born in Porto – was told the city’s deed, he was so proud he made up the nickname Tripeiros, which means “tripe eaters”, for everyone living within this city’s walls.
We are so proud of this brutal nickname that it has managed to stick to the portuenses (the people who live in Porto) until today. We even got ourselves our very own tripe dish. This consists of a heavy, tasteful stew, with the perfect combination of white beans with different types of sausages, ham, pork and honeycomb tripe, all bind together by the hot, sweet and exquisite taste of cumin.
I personally adore this recipe. I can’t recall another dish that embodies so perfectly the spirit of a city and its people. Strong, spicy, abundant, but, most importantly, generous.