To get the true taste of Old Cork, visitors to our city have to be a little adventurous (and a little brave) to discover the joys of Tripe, Drisheen & Crubeens
Tripe is the lining of a sheep or cow’s stomach. Prized in many food cultures (from the north Atlantic coast of France to the Middle East) it was for many centuries (along with Drisheen, a type of blood pudding or sausage) the food of the common folk in Cork.
Crubeens are pig trotters. The reason why all three were widely eaten in Cork (and are still prized by some today) was our city’s status as the thriving hub of an international trade in beef and pork for many centuries.
Cork’s rich farmland and the slaughterhouses of the city provided the salt-beef and pork that sustained navies, armies and civilian populations around the globe. In the 17th Century, you could find a barrel of Cork salt-beef in any corner of the world, from China to Chile.
The by-product was vast amounts of offal, which could not be preserved and was therefore given to the working men and women – it was said that a week’s pay for a Cork slaughterhouse man in the 19th century was a “shilling and all the offal he could carry”.
Today, you will find Tripe, Drisheen and Crubeens on sale in the English Market, at family run butcher stalls like O'Reilly & Sons, established in 1910. You can also sample a dish of tripe, which regularly makes the menu, at the Farmgate Cafe in the market.
And the good news for Cork’s traditional, offal based foods is that they are making a comeback, thanks to the many people from different cultures who have made Cork their home in recent years. One of our most celebrated chefs, Takeshi Miyazaki, of the city-centre Japanese street-food kitchen Miyazaki, regularly uses English Market Crubeens to make Tonsoku (traditional pig’s feet) dishes.
We are very proud of our food heritage in Cork. And we are happy to see some of the old, almost forgotten tastes and traditions come full circle, often with a new twist.
Best of all – we love to send visitors home with a little taste of Cork, so wherever you go, ask if you can take something away with you.