10 Global Cultures That Relish Pork Intestines: A Culinary Tour

From Southern USA’s chitlins to Taiwan’s stinky intestines, explore global cultures’ love for pork intestines in diverse, flavorful dishes.

who eats pork intestines

Pork intestines may not feature on every diner’s wish list, but across the globe, many cultures celebrate this ingredient with dishes that are rich in history and flavor. Join us on a culinary tour to discover how these societies turn what many consider a humble offal into a gastronomic delight.

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1. Savoring Chitlins in Southern USA

Chitlins are cooked pig intestines. While the vast majority of chitlins are pork, sometimes intestines from other animals are sometimes used, Top view, Internal organs of pig.

Down in the Southern United States, chitlins (or chitterlings) are a soul food staple, especially during holiday seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Traditionally, this dish is made by boiling or deep-frying the cleaned small intestines of a pig until tender, often seasoned with onions, garlic, and various spices. It’s a labor of love, as preparing chitlins can be time-consuming, but the result is a dish with a rich history tracing back to the era of slavery, where enslaved Africans turned less-desirable cuts of meat into something special.

2. Philippines’ Love for Isaw

Assorted skewered barbecue cooked on a charcoal grill. Philippine street food.

In the Philippines, isaw is a popular street food that’s hard to miss. These grilled pork intestines are a favorite among locals, often enjoyed with a cold beer. Marinated in a mixture of vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes a touch of sugar, isaw is then skewered and grilled over hot coals, imparting a smoky flavor. It’s cheap, cheerful, and utterly delicious, often dipped in a spicy vinegar or sweet and savory sauce to enhance its taste.

3. China’s Delicacy: Chitterlings

deep fried chitterlings or deep fried pork , fried pork for serve

Chitterlings, or ‘zhu chang’ in Mandarin, are a celebrated delicacy in various regions of China. These pork intestines are meticulously cleaned, then braised, stir-fried, or stewed with a plethora of aromatic spices like star anise and Sichuan peppercorns. The texture is prized just as much as the flavor, with a tender yet chewy bite that’s considered a mark of well-prepared chitterlings. It’s a common sight in both humble food stalls and upscale restaurants, reflecting its wide cultural acceptance.

4. Korean Soondae: A Unique Bite

Delicious Korean cuisine Sundae, blood sausage made by steaming intestines stuffed with glass noodles in market for street food.

Korean cuisine offers a unique take on pork intestines with soondae – a type of blood sausage. Steamed and stuffed with glutinous rice, noodles, and pork blood, soondae is a popular snack found in street markets and restaurants alike. The casing provides a satisfying snap, while the filling is rich and savory with a hint of sweetness. It’s often served with a side of salt and pepper for dipping or in a hot, comforting broth.

5. German Wurst: The Intestine Twist

Picture of a batch of bratwurst sausages cooking in a fast food in Germany. Bratwurst is a type of German sausage made from pork or, less commonly, beef or veal. The name is derived from the Old High German Brätwurst, from brät-, finely chopped meat, and Wurst, sausage, although in modern German it is often associated with the verb braten, to pan fry or roast.

The German love affair with sausages, or ‘wurst‘, is well-known, and intestines play a crucial role as natural casings for these encased meats. Whether it’s bratwurst, knackwurst, or weisswurst, these sausages are celebrated for their crisp skins and juicy fillings. The intestines are selected for their size and strength, ensuring they hold the shape and integrity of the sausage during cooking. This culinary tradition is deeply ingrained in German culture, representing a slice of their gastronomic heritage.

6. Italian Soppressata Secrets

The close-up of Soppressata salami  meat

In Italy, soppressata is a type of dry-cured salami that often incorporates pork intestines in its production. The intestines are used as casings, enveloping a mixture of ground pork, fat, and a blend of spices like fennel, garlic, and red pepper flakes. The resulting sausage is then aged, developing a complex flavor profile. Soppressata is a testament to the Italian knack for transforming simple ingredients into exquisite charcuterie.

7. Taiwan’s Stinky But Tasty Intestines

Taiwanese cuisine might challenge the uninitiated with its ‘stinky’ tofu, and the same goes for its pork intestines. These are commonly stir-fried, braised, or served in a hot pot, and are known for their pungent aroma, which belies their savory and slightly sweet taste. The intestines are often paired with other ingredients that complement and balance their strong flavor, creating dishes that are bold and memorable.

8. French Andouillette: A Pungent Pleasure

Andouillette made from cooked tripe served with cooked spinach  French charcuterie

In France, the andouillette sausage is a divisive yet cherished dish. Made from coarsely cut pork intestines and sometimes stomach, it’s seasoned, encased, and often grilled or pan-fried. The strong, distinctive odor can be off-putting to some, but for aficionados, it’s a pungent pleasure that speaks to the rustic side of French cuisine. Andouillette is typically served with mustard or a creamy sauce, and it is a testament to the French commitment to using all parts of the animal.

9. Japanese Chochin: An Izakaya Staple

Chochin is a lesser-known but delightful Japanese dish often found in izakayas (Japanese pubs). Named after traditional lanterns that intestines resemble when prepared, cochin is made by skewering and grilling them, often served with a side of soy or miso-based dipping sauce. The texture is slightly chewy, and the flavor is rich, making it a perfect companion to a cold glass of beer or sake. It’s a celebration of texture and taste, wrapped up in a bite-sized, sociable form.

10. Spanish Morcilla: Blood Sausage Bliss

Morcilla de Burgos is a sausage made from rice and pork blood, onion, lard, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano. Tapas typical of Spanish gastronomy.

Spain’s answer to pork intestines is found in the form of morcilla, a type of blood sausage that’s both rich in flavor and history. The intestines serve as casings for a mixture of pork blood, rice, onions, and spices. Morcilla can be found in various regional varieties, each with its unique blend of seasonings and preparation methods. It’s a staple in Spanish tapas and is often enjoyed sliced and pan-fried, with the crispy exterior giving way to a creamy, savory interior.

From the smoky grills of the Philippines to the festive tables of the Southern USA, pork intestines have secured their place in the culinary hearts of many cultures. This journey through the world’s pork intestine dishes reveals a universal truth: with the right preparation and a dash of tradition, even the most overlooked cuts of meat can become a source of culinary pride and pleasure.

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