tripe vs. pig stomach
Sounds like a good battle but the question is one of flavor. I have always enjoyed tripe, much to my wife's dismay, and have been eating at more Chinese restaurants lately that offer other stomach meats(pork usually, or fish).
Does pig stomach have a similar taste or texture as tripe does? I only ask this before ordering because it's usually an ordeal to order any offals like this and if I don't like it I'll be the one eating every bite and hearing about it later.
Pig's stomach has a slightly fattier texture, but requires the same slow cooking to stop it becoming rubbery.
Nowadays it, like tripe seems to be something you only find in ethnic restaurants, but some of the classic dishes of France use it as a means of protecting delicate food during the cooking process. I think it was Bocuse ( sp?) who prepared a whole Foie Gras in a pigs stomach and I have also seen Chicken roasted in one.
Lamb stomach is also delicious and can be used in the same way. I have seen it used in Wales to hold together boned rolled joints during the roasting process.
When you say tripe you mean the beef stomach that's got the honey comb pattern? Pig stomach is quite different in that there's usually a grey, slightly leathery layer outside of the white, richer, but somewhat smoother layer.
When prepared well, pig stomach is very tasty. You get 3 different textures and tastes in one slice. Unfortunately, when you get them in most restaurants, you get some that smells like it's been cleaned with bleach, and where the fattier parts were either trimmed off, or just not cooked slowly enough to be tender. I would get it in soup only if it's a restaurant I trust. It should be tender, not rubbery and tasteless. Otherwise, to just get a sense of what it is, you could order the appetizer version in a good Sechuan restaurant, where it's served thinly sliced, in sechuan pepper oil and spices. Just keep in mind that the soup version, when you get a good one, is a whole new world.
I've only had pig stomach as buches, a Mexican burrito or taco filling. There it has a slightly chewy texture with hints of a bacony flavor. It is often mixed with carnitas, which makes a nice combination. I don't know how it is prepared prior to cooking, but it doesn't seem to have the richness and fattiness of good menudo style tripe. It is certainly worth trying--I detected no flavor or texture that wasn't pleasant.
I ordered pig belly tonight at a new Thai Fusion place in my neighborhood(The Basil in Chelsea, NYC). It was really nice. I enjoyed the layered textures. I guess I've had pig belly before cut as bacon and for some reason I was thinking that the pig stomach listed on Chinese menus would look like honeycomb tripe. I was surprised to see it looked like more like a beef stew. They flavored it in a five-spice type savory-sweet blend and loaded it atop some sauteed chard and rice vermicelli.
A very nice dish indeed.
re: Iron Frank
It's a bit confusing to me just exactly what you had, and what you had wanted to try in the first place. Pork Belly would be the 3 layer bacon, the part that's got a layer of skin, and then alternate layers of fat and lean meat. This is meat, not a digestive organ.
Pig Stomach does for the pig what Tripe does for the cow. The mainly 2 layer doesn't include skin, of course, nor meat as we think of in stews. One layer is grey, the inside layer is white, almost squid like in texture, but can be tender when simmered properly. The other slightly fatty parts are nothing like the pork fat on the bacon. It's more a creamy soft, also white in color.
Most non-Asian restaurants that offer Pork Belly on their menu maybe never offer pork stomach.
Hmm, sorry I guess I was pretty confused myself. It happens often when I go out to eat with family.
I actually was more into trying pig stomach. I guess I just have developed the habit of using the terms "belly" and "stomach" interchangeably. The pig belly was obviously much more meaty than tripe. Next time I'll be sure to sample a Chinese preparation of pig stomach.
Aside from the asian & latino recipes and uses for pigs stomach, you should also look up recipes for Hog Maw or Dutch Goose. It's an incredible Penn Dutch comfort food. Pigs stomach stuffed with fresh ground sausage, onions, potatoes and other stuff depending on individual recipes, then sewn shut & baked. OMG - soo good.
But yes, beef tripe - very different from pig stomach in looks and texture, though similar requirements for cooking (same as most offal) - slow & low