If you ever travel to Romania, you will be surprised at the multitude of cultures that has mixed together to produce this wonderful result. Our food is not much different from our architecture, a wonderful blend of all the people that have crossed our borders throughout history.
Today, we talk about one of our most famous foods of all, tripe soup, or Ciorba de burta in Romanian.
First, lets clarify the words: Ciorbă (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃʲorbə]), from Persian shorba (شوربا) via Turkish çorba is a general Romanian word used in Romania and the Republic of Moldova to describe sour soups consisting of various vegetables and meat. In Moldavia region, the word borș means simply any sour soup.
When you look at any Romanian menu, you will see the word ciorba and then an addition: de pui, de burta, de vaca. It literally explains the main ingredient in what you are about to eat: Chicken, tripe or beef.
Tripe, the main ingredient in this one, is the edible lining of the cow's stomach. It is thoroughly cleaned, and washed, then boiled to make the sour soup. We are not the only people eating this weird ingredient. You will find it all around the Balkans, in various shapes or form, but also in French, Spanish or Sicilian cuisine.
Back to our soup now. This is a very simple dish consisting of tripe soup seasoned with vinegar, sour cream, and mujdei – a spicy garlic sauce made from crushed garlic cloves, salt, and oil. Various ingredients are used for the broth, including onions, carrots, celery, parsley and parsnip roots, lovage, bay leaves, and peppercorns. You can find it in most Romanian restaurants, and it will be served hot, with a side of chilies.
As with many of our foods, the origins of this go back to the Otoman empire. So if you want a taste of the east, definitely order a Ciorba de Burta.