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Yang Sing's Utter Tripe

Jonathan Schofield takes an offally nice view of the food

Written by . Published on September 17th 2013.

Yang Sing's Utter Tripe

GROWING up on a hail-lashed moorside in north Rochdale we needed comfort food. 

My dining companions Gordo and Georgina, his long-suffering daughter, screamed, lifted their skirts and ran a mile. 

It didn't come better than in the form of cowheel pie or tripe. 

These were two Lancashire dishes designed to fit the climate and geography perfectly. Rugged, earthy, honest. Both would make effete metropolitan dandies swoon away, unless you could get maybe Cara Delevingne to eat them first and in public and thus make them a la mode.

I still love them both.

Particularly tripe. The joys of the honey comb stomach lining of the humble moo-cow are alien to the uninitiated but worth pursuing if you enjoy the further reaches of food.

Honeycombs of joy

Honeycombs of joy

In Rochdale on the moor in the howling gale we ate tripe cold with lashings of malt vinegar. There were other recipes but that was my mum's way. My mother could have probably should have written the definitive Lancashire cookbook. She knew all the recipes.  

She was a bit Chinese in her approach to food. Loads of Brits were. After war and rationing there was a waste-not-want-not attitude. If you could cook bits of animal, any bits, you did, if you couldn't eat it solid then you made a stock from it or a gravy.  

We had a big pantry in the old house and there were eight of us including a grumpy grandmother and the dog and the cat. The waste from that pantry at the end of the week would have filled a small matchbox but not stretched to a Swan Vesta.  

I sometimes look at the bin bags I lug out to the wheelie bins and colour with shame. 

A recent trip to the Yang Sing returned me to tripe.

This version wasn't as inelegant as those brutally pale stomach linings of the Pennine lands, in fact it was entry level tripe - see the picture at the top of the page. The honeycomb came with satay sauce and chilli and was refined indeedThe dandies need not worry about this version even without celeb endorsement. The satay soaks the tripe and takes away the offally edge that puts the fear of God in food cowards.

Like the ones around me. 

My lunchtime dining companions Gordo and Georgina, his long-suffering daughter, screamed, lifted their skirts and ran a mile. 

But I was enraptured by the far reaches of food now, so I dived into the 'jelly fish 'head' dressed with spring onion oil'. Loved this again. Fishy, slimy, lubricious, delicious. weird. Again terror gripped the two Gs. Babies the pair of them.

Just in case you get the wrong idea about Lancashire cooking, jelly fish is something my mother never cooked. Even the deepest moorland reservoirs in Rochdale - Watergrove perhaps - are hostile to jelly fish whatever the season.   

Going for the krill


Going for the krill

I then went in for the krill - I think this is what they were, there was some debate.

Krill are tiny sea creatures, dried and transformed into something akin to whitebait seen through the wrong end of a telescope. They are moreish. On this occasion they were excellent too, salty snaps to add bite to the food. 

Krill are the favourite snack of baleen whales - ones with filters in their mouths rather than teeth - such as the Blue Whale and the Humpback Whale. The average Blue Whale can hoover up an astonishing 3,600 kilograms (7,900 lb) of krill everyday. It's surprising Gordo didn't like krill, they'd suit his appetite. 

What he did like, what we all liked, what passers-by liked, what astronauts on satellite links liked, was the steamed lobster with its delicate flesh, all aromatic and enriched with lemongrass, spice and more of the brill krill. 


Lobster heaven

Lobster heaven

There were sundry dim sum with this meal - created round a business meeting - with the steamed coriander beef balls, little beauts, as were the minced pork, crab and chive pastries. Mains of steamed sea bass with bamboo shoots and the flambéed cubed rib eye should be mentioned in dispatches as excellent.

Seabass with bamboo shoots

Seabass with bamboo shoots

But it was the tripe, jellyfish, krill and lobster that stick in the memory - 8/10 dishes all.

Lots of people have read Marcel Proust's Rembrance of Things Past (although not me yet - a bit French, a bit introverted for my taste) in which nostalgia for that lost golden world of youth is triggered by a small detail, a taste, a smell.

That was me in the Yang Sing: nostalgic for that lost golden world of tripe consumption.


Beautiful don't you think?

The Yang Sing is at 34 Princess Street, City. 0161 236 2200
You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

Coriander beef ballsCoriander beef balls

Shanghai style pan fried pork bunsShanghai style pan fried pork buns

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John EdwardsSeptember 17th 2013.

Great article! I love tripe and 'proper' Chinese. Also check out Pacific in China Town. It seems to have a fully translated authentic 'Chinese Menu', the seafood is top quality, 30% off Dim Sum etc so it's a winner! Not as swish as Yang Sing - but defo worth a look if you order properly!

AnonymousSeptember 17th 2013.

very nice :)

IanSeptember 18th 2013.

those pork buns look good. will try this weekend

Mark GarnerSeptember 19th 2013.


Mark GarnerSeptember 19th 2013.

That was a sound check. Gordo did love the Krill, indeed it was he who recognised what they were for, mainly used as seasoning in a number of Asian dishes and snacks. But that tripe. Jeesus, every time my Gran took me into yje UCP on St. Anne's square years ago the site of her woofing down that stuff made me feel ill. My old man.thought it a treat as well. And that jelly fish head! Ominous, a shocker, let me tell you. Now, those pork buns, easy winners....

pammyranSeptember 20th 2013.

The New Hong Kong does a couple of dim sum dishes with tripe. My fave there has to be the tripe with ginger and spring onion. Absolutely delish, soft, yielding and full of flavour. Definitely the thing to go with east asian flavours. Nom nom nom.

AnonymousSeptember 20th 2013.

I had some kind of tripe and chilli soup in the Tai Wu a few weeks ago, with Chinese black pudding in it...not quite what I was expecting, but still an enjoyable experience!

1 Response: Reply To This...
John EdwardsSeptember 23rd 2013.

Sounds interesting - I haven't been back to Tai Wu since it went all-you-can-eat; as I assumed it would be generic westernised rubbish. Their dim sum lunches were epic, as was the chinese menu lobster banquet. I might give it a go as they are serving weird and wonderful stuff like this... Plus if whoever you are dining with is squeamish you can go your separate ways!

pollolocoSeptember 24th 2013.

Went to yang Sing on Sunday for dim sum and had the tripe. Have to agree it was good, however the prices are far higher than other Chinese restaurants offering the same quality. having a 10% service charge automatically added to my bill for virtually non existant service stuck in the throat a little as well. Although I can't deny the food is decent, this place just seems to have lost it's way somewhat.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mark GarnerOctober 11th 2013.

in the 35 years I've been going, Pollo, its always been at the top of the range price-wise, but also, top of the range value-wise. Quality great, comfortable, good wine line list and table cloths. It's not a cafe. The service charge debate goes on and on.... Yawn

pollolocoNovember 20th 2013.

Mark, I have no issue with paying a service charge if the service is fair. The last couple of times I've been it's been non existent. Since harry is no longer there....there's a lack of "on the floor" management. As for the next generation of Yeungs...are they ghosts, because I've yet to meet them in the restaurant...then again I'm only a lowly customer of 30 years or so...

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