Tripe soup (shkembe chorba in Bulgarian) is typical for Bulgarian cuisine although the word shkembe comes from Persian. Its preparation requires not simply putting in different ingredients, but a true mastery. Let us explain what the dish is like for those of you who don’t know. It is cooked with a beef, lamb or pork tripe and never a combination of them. It is made with veggie broth and is traditionally served and eaten with vinegar, garlic and hot pepper or peppers.
There are even legends for this popular soup. One of them is about a sultan who ate tripe soup every day. The cooks were trying really hard, they followed the recipe precisely, but still something was wrong. In searching for the right recipe for the dish the sultan secretly went out of the palace one night and visited Bay Hassan, a famous master of tripe soup in Constantinople. He started complaining and explaining: “My cooks are really trying. First they wash the tripe…” and before finishing his thought, Bay Hassan started and said: “Wrooong!”
Far more than one or two places in Plovdiv offer the traditional Bulgarian soup but true tripe connoisseurs know where to go. It may taste strange to you at the beginning if you aren’t Bulgarian but it’s worth trying. Tripe is used as a hangover remedy. It can warm you in wintertime and take care of your immune system if you add extra hot pepper or peppers. And like we said its undeniable effect against hangover is the most popular.
Vey often early in the morning on Saturday and Sunday after hard and tiring partying you can end up in Supa Bar with a local who will take you there and definitely order tripe soup. It is true that the place offers really great dishes and they never go out of vinegar and garlic. However the goal of the Plovdiv guide lostinplovdiv.com is to help you experience and sense the ancient city the way the locals do. This is why we are going to take you on a brief journey through the best shkembe restaurants in the area even though many of them are not amongst the most popular places in town.
The Plovdiv guide contacted a few of the local tripe connoisseurs and asked them to recommend the places where you can have a really good tripe soup. The first place definitely deserves a small tavern at the heart of the Roma neighbourhood Adzhisana. The place is 5 minutes away from the city centre on foot but there’s no way to give you an exact address. The people from the neighbourhood will give you directions to Bay Aylyatin. If you want to get around to trying the best tripe soup in Plovdiv you should definitely go there early in the morning because after 10 am there isn’t any left. Bay Aylyatin chooses every tripe himself and cooks it personally. And he doesn’t make any compromises with the quality. Don’t expect an expensive and luxurious restaurant. It is more of a neighbourhood tavern with plastic chairs but once you visit it, you won’t forget it.
“Jerry’s” also keeps the tradition of deliciously cooked tripe soup. It is located on 10 Architect Kamen Petkov St and welcomes its hungry clients for a few years now. The next interesting place is called “Atlas”. No, we aren’t talking about the exquisite restaurant in the city centre, but about a small shack positioned on Industrialna St and there is no number on the street. It is near the Neptune swimming pool. We can’t be more specific than that. People say that “Everyone seeking finds”.
Another popular place among tripe lovers is the “Relax”. Located in the Plovdiv neighbourhood Küçük Paris, the place is visited primarily by people living in the area, buuut the tripe soup is worth trying.
Close to this area is also the newest place which quickly got high appraisal from connoisseurs because of the delicious dish. The restaurant is called “Novomes” and having in mind that it is a business establishment whose proprietors own a slaughterhouse we aren’t surprised at all that even though it is far from the centre of Plovdiv – as far as Asenovgrasko shose Blvd – it has regular visitors.
And the final of all finals crosses the city boundaries and takes us directly to the near town Kuklen. The nourishing tripe can’t be limited to just one city so the connoisseurs recommend you stop by the “Chance”. You will take a walk, view the beautiful nature, have a rest on a meadow and between all those pleasant activities you will dine in a typical Bulgarian way – abundantly and for a small amount of money.
If you really want to sense the spirit of Plovdiv eat a tripe soup, overdo it with the hot pepper, quench your thirst with a cold beer and after that climb a hill and chill until the sun rises. The way only Plovdivers can.