IATE Food Term of the Week: Patsas

September 15, 2018 10:36 am


You either love it or you hate it.

This Greek dish is mainly consumed after a night of heavy drinking. It is made out of tripe, which is basically cow stomach and it is widely popular in the Balkans and in the Caucasus.

In Greek it is called πατσάς, which is the Greek equivalent to the English term beer belly. It is served in special restaurants, which specialize in making only this particular type of soup out of cow stomach. It is mainly served with lemon or skordostoumpi, which is basically a mix of vinegar and garlic.

The name differs even within the Balkan countries. In Greek it is called πατσάς, in Albanian it is called paçeIn the South Slavic languages, the name used derives from the Turkish işkembe (belly). Therefore in Bulgarian and Slavic Macedonian it is called шкембе чорба (shkembe chorba), in Serbian and Bosnian шкембић/škembić, in Romanian, ciorbă de butră, which translates as sour soup, and again can be traced etymologically to Turkish. In Croatian, it is lexically more related to Polish, fileki and flaczki respectively. Both of these terms can be traced etymologically to the German word Flacke. The words in Czech and Slovak are also etymologically related, drštková polévka  and držková polievka respectively.

The Turkish word itself, işkembe comes from the Persian word shikambeh, which means stomach, and it also shows that this particular dish is also popular in the Caucasus area. In Armenia and Azerbaijan, it also known as khash (խաշ and xaş  respectively.) Surprisingly, in the Armenian medieval medical book, Relief of Fevers (1184) this particular food was described as having healing properties, against snuffle.

Yet, this food is not only prevalent in Eastern Europe but in Western Europe as well. In Italian the tripe soup is called trippa alla fiorentina, and is widely sold on the markets. In German it is called Kuttelsuppe, whereas in French it is called tripes a la Caen. Surprisingly, this food is also prevalent in Luxembourg, where it is named Kuddelfleck.

It is actually a very polarizing food, with both avid eaters and avid haters.








Blendi Halilaj is a student of the Master in Learning and Communications in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts in the University of Luxembourg. His Bachelor is in English Language and Literature, majoring in Linguistics. He was born in 1993 in Albania and migrated to Greece in 1995 at the age of two. He has been living in Luxembourg for almost a year now.

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