Tripe Soup (İskembe Corbasi) – The perfect hangover cure


While tripe soup may not have the most pleasant smell, especially if you’re not used to it, the taste is to die for. There is no doubt that many variations of tripe soup exist around the world, but the Turkish version has its own distinct flavor and culture surrounding it.

What is Tripe Soup (İskembe Corbasi)?

As mentioned above, it is a soup made of tripe, the edible stomach lining from, most commonly, a sheep.

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The origins

Centuries ago, Turkic nomads had two staples as the main ingredients to their dishes: meat and milk. As they were travelling through the steppes and had no means of storing their food, every part of a slaughtered animal was utilized, including the stomach. Tripe soup is known to be very delicious, and in making it, the nomads also learned how to make yoghurt.
İşkembe çorbası was at the height of its popularity during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1494-1566). Shops and restaurants at that time specialized in a few certain dishes, so “işkembeci,” or tripe soup cooks, became common. Even then, soup restaurants would stay open late into the night, allowing the heavy drinkers of Istanbul to grab a bowl and prevent a nasty hungover.
Thanks to the detailed recording of Evliya Çelebi’s travelogue “Seyahatname,” it is known that there was a total of 300 işkembeci in Istanbul in the 17th century. Compared to other specialist restaurants, such as the 155 biryani shops or the 50 dolma shops, it can be assumed that işkembeci were quite popular. As with many other foods from the era, the soup has its fair share of controversy. In 1750, for example, restaurants complained about other restaurants selling their specialty tripe soup, which sometimes led to a warning by the court. Those tripe restaurants in turn complained about other shops that were allegedly selling their tripe soup as well.
Despite its popularity on the streets, işkembe wasn’t as popular in the palace. While some tripe was listed in the palace cookbooks, it didn’t appeal to the palace palate, or it simply was not the preferred soup.


The work “işkembe” comes from the Persian “shekambe,” meaning the part of the stomach called the rumen, and “çorba,” also from the Persian “shurba,” meaning soup. The Turks adopted the name, as did South Slavic languages, with “škembe čorba” (шкембе чорба) in Bulgaria and Macedonia, and “škembić” (шкембић) in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

İşkembe Çorbası - tripe soup as the perfect hangover cure

If you don’t have the chance to get to try the soup on the streets of Istanbul but still want to give have a taste, here’s the recipe for the classic işkembe çorbası.


  • 1 kg tripe
  • 150 ml vinegar
  • 3 tbsp + 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt, pepper, to taste


  • Cut the tripe into pieces roughly the size of your palm and wash them thoroughly. Pour about 50 ml vinegar and hot water over the tripe and let it sit for about 30-40 minutes. Wash the tripe again and cook the pieces for 45-50 minutes in a pressure cooker. Pour out any excess water into a glass and save for the next step, and then let the tripe cook without pressure for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • In a deep pot, heat the oil and then brown 3 tbsp flour. Add about 3 ladles of the water in which the tripe was cooked over it. Stir continuously and add about 1.5 liters of hot water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the tripe into small pieces and add them to the boiling water-flour mixture. Crush the cloves of garlic and add them into the soup, and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, mix 2 tbsp flour with yogurt, lemon juice, egg yolks and the remaining vinegar. Add one ladle of the soup to yogurt the mixture and then pour it all back into the soup. Season to taste, let it simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve!



When serving, additional lemon juice or vinegar can be added for extra flavor.


(1) Clifford A. Wright, “The Best Soups in the World”, 2010
(2) Marianna Yerasimos, “17. Yüzyılda İstanbul Sokaklarında Satılan Yiyecekler ve İçecekler; Dükkanlar ve Seyyarlar”, 2020
(3) Priscilla Mary Işın, “Bountiful Empire: A History of Ottoman Cuisine”, 2018
(4) Marianna Yerasimos, “500 Yıllık Osmanlı Mutfağı”, 2002
Course: Soup