Affal - Nose to Tail Eating

As leading South African meat wholesalers, we are used to dealing with all parts of the animal from head to toe, but if you mention the words affal, offal or tripe and trotters, the world suddenly seems instantly divided – people either love it or shudder at the thought.

Affal or offal, as it is more commonly known throughout the world, encompasses the internal organs and entrails of an animal. For hundreds of years, right up until the late 1940s affal was considered a staple food source by many; but as the depression lifted and Europe became more prosperous, minds and mouths turned to more ‘real’ meat.

There’s still the odd vestige of it to be found, in Britain for example, you’ll find it in their steak and kidney pie, but for many across the world, affal remains a delicacy wrapped up in cultural significance.

  • In Scotland it’s Haggis – considered a savoury pudding, it combines sheep’s heart, liver and lungs with onion and a variety of spices, encased in either an animal’s stomach or artificial casing. 
  • In France it’s foie gras – a rich pate made from the liver of a duck or goose which remains a luxury (if at times controversial) food product. 
  • In parts of Germany, it’s blood tongue or Zungenwurst, head cheese or brawn (meat jelly made from the head of the animal) combined with blood – most commonly pig’s blood with pieces of pickled beef tongue included. 
  • In Greece it’s Patsas – a traditional soup that uses lamb, sheep, or pork tripe as key ingredients – while there are many different regional varieties of the soup, most use the animal’s head or feet.
  • In parts of the USA, you’ll find Rocky Mountain Oysters which actually have nothing to do with oysters but are in fact bulls' testicles that are peeled, pounded, coated in flour, salt, and pepper, then fried. 
  • In Romania it’s Drob – an Easter dish made from lamb offals, soaked bread, green onions, and eggs; flavoured with plenty of dill, lovage, parsley, and garlic; and baked either in lamb's caul or a sheet of dough. 

Here in South Africa one of the most common affal dishes of course is tripe and trotters – or ‘pens and pootjies’ curry. For those who don’t know, tripe comes from the stomach of a ruminant—any animal that chews cud. According to Masterclass, it’s classified according to which stomach chamber it comes from:

  • Blanket tripe (aka flat tripe) comes from the rumen (aka first stomach or paunch), which is the largest stomach compartment. Blanket tripe is also known as plain tripe, ridged tripe, and thick-seam tripe.
  • Honeycomb tripe comes from the stomach lining of the reticulum (the second stomach) and is often attached to book tripe. It is more tender than blanket tripe and has a honeycomb texture.
  • Book tripe comes from the omasum or psalterium compartment of the stomach and is also known as leaf tripe or bible tripe due to its page-like texture.
  • Reed tripe comes from the abomasum or true glandular stomach of the ruminant. It is the least common in cooking.

N1 provide some of the finest Halaal meat South Africa has to offer - we specialise in Ox affal which is prepared according to the highest and strictest Halaal standards. The product range includes tripe (which has been cleaned), the trotters, tail, tongue (plain and pickled), liver (whole and sliced) and kidneys. For more on this speciality meat as well as other high-quality meat and frozen vegetable products, call us today!