Romania offers drinkers plenty of fine wines and potent spirits, from the fruit brandy known as palinca to the plum-based ţuică. With all these strong drinks, it’s easy to wake up the next day suffering from a hangover. But there is hope for survival, even after a wild night in Romania, since locals have the cure: ciorbă de burtă. When it comes to getting rid of the next day’s regrets, Romanians swear by this hearty soup made with cow tripe and vegetables.
The term ciorbă refers to a category of Romanian sour soups, and they come with alleged health benefits, such as stimulating digestion or even fighting colds. These soups have a sour, tangy taste, thanks to the use of lemon juice or vinegar, and they can feature anything from chicken to meatballs. But the classic ciorbă you must try is the one made with tripe. If you’re traveling around Romania, you will notice this white, wrinkled ingredient made from the stomach lining of a cow in butcher shops, outdoor markets, or even the supermarket. Although tripe may sound unappealing to the uninitiated, ciorbă de burtă headlines many restaurant menus in Romania and is a favorite dish whether you’re battling a hangover or not.
So what goes into ciorbă de burtă? Tripe, of course, is the main ingredient. It’s slowly simmered over three hours in a pot of water with added beef bones and vegetables to produce a rich, aromatic stock base for the soup. After setting the tripe aside and cutting it into pieces, chefs then strain the stock until only a delicious, clear broth remains. They then return the tripe to the pot and flavor the broth with sour cream, eggs, vinegar, garlic, and sautéed carrots.