This month marks our fourth year in China – I can barely believe that it has been that long. One thing that has changed a lot is our perception of the world that we have lived in for the last four years. We still see everything around us, but it is just not as surprising as it was four years ago.
I’m sure that in time we will forget some of the sights and experiences that we have had while living abroad. In many ways I wish that we had started some sort of video series a long time ago. I know that videos are even more work than photos, but it would be nice to watch those in years to come. In fact, I am trying to convince hubby that we need to start something along those lines. In a way it feels like “it’s too late now” but even a year from now I know that we will cherish videos of Elijah as he is now, just under two. Our life might also be a lot different in a couple of years, and it would be nice to be able to watch life as it is right now. In the meantime (until I can get a video plan going) I am going to share weekly “Chinese grocery store find” with all of you. Some of the stuff that I find is just downright mind-blowing but, after four years, I barely turn to look anymore. This series of blogs, I hope, will reopen my eyes to the wonder, the amazement, and sometimes just downright shock of things that I see when I’m out picking up groceries.
So today we present to you… Chicken Feet!
Chicken feet are used in several regional Chinese cuisines; they can be served as a beer snack, cold dish, soup or main dish. In mainland China, popular snack bars specializing in marinated food such as yabozi (duck’s necks) also sell marinated chicken feet, which are simmered with soy sauce, Sichuanese peppercorn, clove, garlic, star anise, cinnamon and chili flakes. Today, packaged chicken feet are sold in most grocery stores and supermarkets in China as a snack, often seasoned with rice vinegar and chili. Another popular recipe is bai yun feng zhao, which is marinated in a sauce of rice vinegar, rice wine flavored with sugar, salt, and minced ginger for an extended period of time and served as a cold dish. In southern China, they also cook chicken feet with raw peanuts to make a thin soup. Salt-baked chicken feet sold in China, vacuum-packed and ready to eat.
Chicken feet are a part of the chicken that is cooked in China, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Moldova, Jamaica, South Africa, Peru, Mexico, Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. Most of the edible tissue on the feet consists of skin and tendons, with no muscle. This gives the feet a distinct texture different from the rest of the chicken’s meat. Their many small bones make them difficult to eat for some; these are often picked before serving. Being mostly skin, chicken feet are very gelatinous.
There they are, above, hanging right next to the Rice Krispies, all vacuum-packed and ready to consume.
The image below really cracks me up. I love how the chicken feet are advertised here. The young man flirtatiously feeds his girlfriend a delectable morsel of chicken foot! I’m sure this chicken is going to seal the deal between these two. How could you resist this guy?
But wait for it… Winning over a lover is not the only way that these chicken feet can change your life!
Below, They are also great for when you’re reading, on a snack break with your co-workers, at the beach, or even while you’re watching a game with the guys! These vacuum-packed chicken feet are a really versatile snack food. I was almost sold on them – I am sure that they are packed with protein too!
Chicken feet seem especially gag-worthy to my husband and our other American friends, but they are not really new to me at all. In South Africa, chicken feet are mainly eaten in townships in all nine provinces, where they are known as “walkie talkies” (together with the head, intestine, hearts and giblets), “runaways” and “chicken dust”, respectively. The feet are submerged in hot water, so the outer layer of the skin can be removed by peeling it off, and then covered in seasonings and grilled. The name “chicken dust” derives from the dust chickens create when scratching the ground with their feet. There have been a couple of times, here in Chinese restaurants, where we end up with multiple dishes in front of us, and if we don’t pick our meals carefully, we are bound to end up with chicken foot sticking out of the dishes. On the occasions that I have handed it to Eli, poor Justin has a heart attack because Elijah takes hold of it and puts it straight into his mouth. hehehe!