Tripas à Moda do Porto: How Porto’s Tripe Stew Became a Culinary Legend

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

You might be familiar with the Francesinha, but the true regional specialty of Porto is its tripe stew. Known as Tripas à Moda do Porto, this traditional Porto dish has roots deep in the city’s history, reportedly dating back to the era of the Portuguese Discoveries.

Crafted from a hearty blend of pork intestines, white beans, chorizo, bacon, onion, garlic, tomato, and seasoned with olive oil, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, the ingredients are slow-cooked until the tripe becomes irresistibly soft and tender.

Served steaming hot, this dish is traditionally accompanied by white rice and paired with a Douro red wine, making it an ideal, soul-warming meal for the chillier days of winter.

Tripas à Moda do Porto isn’t just a meal; it’s a culinary experience that was recognised as one of the finalists in the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy, celebrating its rich heritage and beloved status among Portuguese cuisine.

Origins of the Dish

Legend has it that the origins of Tripas à Moda do Porto trace back to 1415, in the shipyard of Lordelo do Ouro, Porto. Here, vessels were clandestinely constructed for the voyage to Ceuta, marking the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discovery.

Speculation abounded regarding the fleet’s purpose: some believed it was to transport Infanta D. Helena to England for marriage, others thought it was for King D. João I’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and there were whispers about leading Infantes D. Pedro and D. Henrique to Naples for nuptials.

Amidst these rumors, Infante D. Henrique arrived unexpectedly in Porto to inspect the shipyard’s progress. Pleased yet envisioning greater achievements, he disclosed to Master Vaz, his trusted foreman, the true ambition behind the endeavor: the conquest of Ceuta. He called for increased dedication and sacrifice.

In response, Master Vaz promised that Porto’s residents would once again rally as they had during the conflict with Castile, offering all available meat to the expedition and keeping only the animal offal for themselves. Faced with scarcity, the community was left to subsist on a simple fare of tripe and dark bread.

This act of communal sacrifice led to the creation of a humble yet significant dish, giving birth to the culinary tradition of Tripas à Moda do Porto. The people of Porto, through their inventiveness in cooking tripe, embraced this sacrifice, earning the enduring nickname “tripeiros” or tripe eaters, a testament to their resilience and solidarity in support of Portugal.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

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