11 April 2009

Intestines... Yum!

Three days ago my friend convinced me to go to a parrilla (grill) which has the best chinchulines in Buenos Aires. I assumed that anything cooked at a parrilla must be good.

After accepting the invitation I asked him, "What are chinchulines?"
"The small intestine of a cow," he replied. "I don't usually like them but these are supposed to be the best in town."

So we went to the parrilla and sat at an outside table waiting for them to be cooked on the charcoal, whilst the smell of every other delicious meat that we could have been potentially eating wafted past our noses.

And then the chinchulines arrived. The look was good. The smell was good. The crunchy sound of the first bite was good. But when you do bite down on the narrow intestinal tracts all the partially digested food of the cow - let me optimistically say it's grass - comes squeezing out onto your tongue in a lumpy, white paste. This was not so good.

We squeezed a bit of lemon on there, and sprinkled a little salt - i.e. a lot of lemon and a lot salt - and it was actually not so bad. It tastes like crispy, barbecued meat mixed with grass and stomach juices. So I guess it's a balanced diet.

I guess we just have negative associations with some foods. Why should it matter that I'm consuming something in the penultimate stage of it becoming shit?

I recommend you try them. They certainly test your faith as a meat-eater.


  1. Anonymous08:55

    They wash and clean the chinchulines of undigested food. The white paste is just part of the intestine. They can't leave shit inside food.

  2. Thanks Keith. That's really good to know. :) A local told me that the stuff inside is "whatever the cow eats". Maybe she was just trying to freak me out, haha.

  3. Anonymous21:58

    You are so graphic, I was screwing up my nose reading this. You are very good to try, I wouldn't. Had Ava's christening today, all went well.

  4. haha... I'm glad I was able to illicit a visceral reaction :)

    Yeah, my friend said, "People who like meat usually LOVE chinchulines." So I thought I had better give them a go.

    CONGRATULATIONS for Ava!!! I wish I could have been there. I'm sending you all loads of love. :)

  5. Thanks, but no thanks. I eat that, but without whatever comes in the inside. :-)

  6. How about if it's mixed up in a black stew? You'll never know the difference!
    We can call it "feijoada" ;)

  7. Anonymous13:17

    Do you have ANY IDEA how picky and pristine the Argentinians are when preparing food??
    Do you really think intestines can even be SOLD with anything cleanable at all on the insides?
    Come on dude... A little research...

  8. Thanks for your comment. :)
    yeah, I only realised that afterwards... as you can see in the comments above. It was an Argentinean local who told me it was the cow's poop... so I figured it was a reliable source at the time.

  9. I know that eating offal sounds weird to some people, but in several Asian countries it is perfectly normal to use as many parts of the animal as possible. Even here in France we eat offal (pig, usually). Not the most appetizing food for me either, but many people like it.


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