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I got a fish-and-pickled-cabbage soup the other day at a Szechuan restaurant that had these things in it that looked kinda like this. They were translucent off-white, about 2 inches long, and maybe an inch across. They had a light but chewy texture, and at first I thought it was some kind of tripe. What is this stuff?

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2 Answers 2

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From your description, if it isn't tripe, then it is probably Bamboo Fungus. This is often used in soup an other dishes and has a neutral flavor. The texture can be from soft to slightly crunchy depending on the length of cooking.

bamboo fungus soup

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Phallus indusiatus? That sounds naughty! –  Jolenealaska Jun 10 at 4:26
    
@Jolenealaska Personally, I think stinkhorn is even worse. That's one cruelly named fungus. –  logophobe Jun 11 at 19:03

From your description, I (had thought at first - see below) that was indeed a form of tripe, sliced into convenient strips:

honeycomb tripe

more photogenic tripe

This is known specifically as "honeycomb" or "pocket" tripe, and is made from the second chamber of a cow's stomach, anatomically called the reticulum. It and other varieties of stomach are fairly common in traditional Szechuan cuisine.

EDIT: Well, I thought that I had it for sure, but I think erichui's answer is actually correct.

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That's exactly what I thought. But they were in cylinders (like the nanotubes picture), not sheets, and there was no "outside" part. It was just the honeycomb. Also, the size of each "cell" in the honeycomb was much smaller than that. In hindsight, though, the funky taste does remind me of what little tripe I've had. –  user25359 Jun 10 at 1:27
    
@user25359 Perhaps veal tripe, then; the stuff does seem to come in a tubelike form before being broken down, and it sounds like you're describing a smaller version. See the second picture I added above. –  logophobe Jun 10 at 2:12
    
I'm still not sure. It wasn't just tube-like, it was complete tubes, like extra-wide rigatoni. Also there was no outside "skin" on it. –  user25359 Jun 10 at 2:21
    
Fun fact of the day: reticulum is Latin for 'net', hence the name of this lovely tripe. The word can also be seen elsewhere in the names of certain animals, like the reticulated python or the reticulated chipmunk, both of which have net-like markings. Thanks for watching. –  ElendilTheTall Jun 11 at 13:49

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