Reverence for food appears to run deep in Portugal. The residents of the northern city of Porto are known as Tripeiros, ‘tripe-eaters’, for their love of the local dish, tripas à modo do Porto, Porto-style tripe. The dish is apparently so important that locals are willing to deface one of their city’s most famous landmarks:
in order to advertise that the dish be added to a list of world culinary heritage:
My first experience with tripas was also my first meal in Portugal. Taken at an informal café in the centre of Porto, the dish was served in a way that now strikes me as very Portuguese: on a stainless steel platter or bowl with an abundance of starch, in this case, rice:
The tripe was relatively minimal and instead the dish was dominated by a white beans, with salpicão, a type of salted beef, what appeared to be pork belly and a salty broth that had hints of cumin. The dish cost, if I remember correctly, 3 Euros, and I ate it at the dining counter with a mini-bottle of the house red.
My second experience with the dish was at a restaurant named, appropriately, Restaurant Tripeiro. This was a much more upmarket version of the dish, costing several times as much and being several times larger in volume, but containing roughly the same combination of beans, tripe, salted beef, and in this case, a variety of sliced sausages and a few slices of carrot. It was served in a slightly more upmarket stainless steel container (illustrated at the top of this post), in, as is seemingly the case in all restaurants in Portugal, cheap or expensive, a dining room dominated by a blaring television:
I ate it with a delicious red vinho verde and a dish of olives, and because I feel foolishly obligated to eat as much of my food as possible, I walked around Porto feeling extremely full for the next six hours.