Tendons Might Be Healthy Food

Even though I'm vegetarian, I've made exceptions for tendon from dim sum carts. I just like it too much. Several years ago, I read that it's prescribed for arthritis in Chinese medicine. (I can't find that page anymore... oh well.)

Anyway, a few arthritic people I know use chondritin, a supplement that helps rebuild cartilage. It seemed to me that tendon might be equivalent.

Well, I'm not sure it is, but, tendon is full of collagen, and the chondritin pills contain a specifc, common collagen. A post on a web forum said that the collagen in tendon wasn't bioavailable, but I did some research. Lo and behold, it's very bioavailable, as reported by some Swedish researchers.

See the abstract. Even pig skins (aka cueritos in Mexican markets) is good, though it seems fatty to me.

What surprised me is that most Americans don't eat tendon. I guess I'm in a bubble here, because, while I didn't grow up eating it, it was sold at the ethnic stores, and assumed it was commonly eaten. It's on all the Chinese and Vietnamese menus, and you see it at the Mexican butchers.

Tendon is almost all pure protein, mostly collagen. It takes an hour to cook in a pressure cooker. It has a subtle flavor that you spice up while it's cooking. You can eat it stewed, as in menudo or braised tendon. You can chill it, and slice it thin, and serve it with a hot sauce.