January 15, 2020

"Chicken feet are popular in traditional regional Chinese cooking and are served as snacks to go with alcohol, in cold dishes, in soups or as the main dish."

"They are typically steamed first to make them puffy before being stewed and simmered in abalone sauce."

From a Bloomberg News item about a container of 23.94 tons of "American chicken feet" that went through Chinese customs yesterday, "potentially heralding the start of a new trading era between the two countries just days before they sign a long-awaited trade deal."

We're told that the Chinese refer to chicken feet as "phoenix claws" and we're also shown a graph that refers to them as "chicken paws," so I'm inferring that's the official governmental term.

I looked up "paw," because it's a word I'd only use for the feet of furry mammals (or jocosely for the hands of a human being), so I'm surprised to see that the oldest use of "paw" in English (according to the OED) is, in fact, " The foot or claw of a bird; the foot or claw of a dragon."
c1450 (▸c1380) G. Chaucer House of Fame 541 This egle..with hys grymme pawes stronge..Me..he hente.

59 comments:

Mattman26 said...

They can have 'em!

Iman said...

I will soon be opening new Dixie Chickenfeet franchises throughout China.

stevew said...

Chicken feet are a standard offering at the dim sum place we go to in Boston. My dad always loved them (we are not Chinese), those and pickled pigs feet.

Iman said...

Popcorn chickenfeet!

rehajm said...

I like them! In street food prep you get them on a stick. The ones I had were cartoon orange, like Foghorn Leghorn.

Lucid-Ideas said...

鷄爪子 - Ji ZhuaZi (Chicken Claws)

They're delicious, and they love American chickens for their feet because they're at least 2x bigger. They come either stir-fried in XiaoXing Wine Glaze or pickled (the pickled version can be tough for Americans to deal with).

They go very very well with either KweiChou Moutai or the official rice-wine of the Communist Party, 红星二锅头 (WuXingErGuoTou - Red Star's 'Two Pot Heads'), which tastes like turpentine that's had hyenas swimming around in it. YMMV.

Beasts of England said...

I saw a package of chicken feet at the grocery store labeled as ‘Chicken Paws’. Still not buying them... :)

GingerBeer said...

I eat scrapple, and find this a little odd and disgusting.

rehajm said...

The feet thing is one of those perfect examples of gain from trade. The US consumer eats more chicken than anyone but feet would largely be a waste product...but the Chinese can't get enough of 'em. US chickens also have really big feet, another reason they're coveted by China...

k said...

One of my must-have dim sum dishes. I even learned how to make them at home.

traditionalguy said...

Dragons are my favorite Chinese. They bring good fortune. But they come with more than claws. They are flying fire breathing weapons of war. Think of Puff the Magic Dragon that was the Special Forces friend in Viet Nam. It was a C-47 that circled slowly while its mini gunpods could put a 7.62 round into every square inch of a football sized field in 10 seconds. At the 2 month siege of Khe Sanh the Puffs circled the position night and day dropping flares for illumination at night. That Puff was worthy of the name Dragon

Mattman26 said...

Finger-lickin' feet!

Leland said...

I guess they are like frog legs in that they taste like chicken?

J. Farmer said...

I've had them before. Not my favorite. But, I always use chicken feet to make stock. They're cheap and have lots of collagen and connective tissue.

Iman said...

"I saw a package of chicken feet at the grocery store labeled as ‘Chicken Paws'."

If I'd seen that, it would've given me pause... pause to wonder what unholy hybrid creature has science unleashed on the world now...

Sydney said...

I, too, use chicken feet to make a broth. Delicious. Although, it is a little creepy as it looks like a bunch of hands simmering on the stove.

DrSquid said...

We had a woman from Dominican Republic in my office who would bring to occasionl pot lucks a chicken/rice/claws dish that was very good, although a little unsettlig when you first get a look at it. She said the claws also made excellent teething chew toys for little children

YoungHegelian said...

One of my wife's house mates in college was a recent Chinese immigrant who discovered, to her delight, that she could go down the local grocery store & pick up a pound of chicken hearts for practically nothing, as no one else was buying them. She'd stir-fry them up, add some rice & vegetables, and eat for a week for pennies!

Before we go all "Ohhh, icky-poo!" on our Chinese brethren, let us all remember that the Danes, the chief pig farmers of Europe, sell their pork ribs to us here in the great U. S. of A. Why us, and not their European neighbors? Because their fellow Yurpeans consider pork ribs to be "trash meat", while we much-more-civilized Uhmericans think pork ribs are a delicacy. Thus, your Danish pig farmer gets a much better price for pork ribs from American buyers, and so that's where they go. If you've ever eaten pork ribs at a chain like Chili's or TGIF, you've eaten Danish pork ribs.

Megthered said...

My mother and grandmother always used chicken feet for chicken stock. I don't think they paid much for them, maybe fifty cents for a bag full. In the stores, they are called chicken paws. Not shocking or surprising to me. The thing that surprised me was finding a whole pig head in the meat section. Latino food at Christmas time.

rhhardin said...

That monkeys have hands should give us pause.

rhhardin said...

A Radio Taiwan cooking series in the 90s started by saying that Chinese and Western ideas of what's edible differ a lot.

JAORE said...

Why did the chicken cross the road?
To get the SOB that killed his paw.

Francisco D said...

Had chicken feet at a Dim Sum in Chicago's Chinatown.

They tasted like ... well, they didn't really taste like anything. The texture was not to my liking, but it was better than Jamaican curried cow foot that a former girlfriend once served me.

The Crack Emcee said...

I was reading about Abraham Lincoln, and it's said he would poke at religious types who asked him to say the dinner prayer, by asking for things like socks for chickens in winter.

Beasts of England said...

I take no responsibility for the resulting paws puns... 😜

Nonapod said...

Referring to chicken feet as "phoenix claws" strikes me as similar to naming bull testicles "rocky mountain oysters".

Wilbur said...

Mrs. Wilbur has me buy a package at Publix every few months. She boils them for the collagen, which she somehow collects, portions and freezes.

I've eaten them fried, years ago. For me, they're kinda like eating pancakes or a blooming onion - the first few of bites are good, but then you just want it out of your face.

Wilbur said...

Why did the chicken go halfway across the road? She wanted to lay it on the line.

Wilbur said...

That was for JoAnne Worley.

cold pizza said...

in Pinoy (Filipino) culture, "Adidas" (like the shoe company) is chicken feet; either in a soup or stir fried.

While I know many Filipinos who cook this at home (here in the U.S.), I have yet to see adidas soup pop up at any of the hundred or so potluck dinners I've been to over the last decade. Lechon? Oh, yeah! Pancit? Of course. Lumpia? Every time. Spaghetti with ketchup? Yupper. But never adidas. I guess it would be like taking fried bologna and mayo sandwiches to the church potluck. -CP

MikeD said...

If you're going to make the broth for Pho, you absolutely need chicken feet.

Todd said...

Wilbur said...

pancakes

1/15/20, 1:42 PM


Ummmmmmmmm! Pancakes! I can spend all morning eating pancakes! IHOP! Flavored syrups! Pancakes!

FullMoon said...

Have never, to my knowledge, had chicken feet. I have Asian , Mexican, Filipino neighbors, so do abide by a personal rule, though. If it is new to me and tastes good, do not ask what is in it.

Saw my new neighbor roasting a dog once. Was relieved to notice hooves instead of paws. Close call.

Char Char Binks said...

I prefer pigeon toes.

Iman said...

The Turkey Nuts at McKlintock's Restaurant in Shell Beach, Ca. are to chew over!

jaydub said...

I used to think I could eat anything, but three Asian "delicacies" proved me wrong. Steamed duck's feet has a disgusting texture like cartilage and is almost as difficult for me to get down as sea urchin, which doesn't taste so bad but has the consistency of snot. Usually it's the texture that gets you with Asian food rather than the taste. Only thing worse is Philippine balut, or fermented fertilized duck eggs, which feature a nauseatingly rotten smell and come with the little duck pin feathers and beak already starting to develop on the embryo - the smell coupled with the texture would make a maggot puke.

Yancey Ward said...

They can used to make a really, really good broth (and probably are on an industrial scale).

walter said...

The alcohol might be key to enjoying those.
Perhaps some Cabo Wabo.
Pho can kiss my ass and make his own broth.

Yancey Ward said...

I watch Chopped a lot, but I don't remember chicken feet ever being in the basket, though they have had pig's feet in them more than once.

cold pizza said...

jaydub, I found the easiest way to eat balut was with my eyes closed. If the "egg" is cooked properly, then it's not too bad (of course your results were different than mine). I lived in the Philippines for 3 years and ate a total of 5 balut during that time. The last balut I ate had not been cooked all the way through and came out more like duck jelly than duckling. Which is why it was the last balut I've ever eaten.

You either need a strong stomach, or be seriously drunk, or both, to be able to eat Pinoy street food. Day-old chick. Century egg. Unidentifiable-meat-on-a-stick (probably pork). Hot dog (which might include real dog). Fried bat. Boiled snails. Which is why I stuck with mostly fruits and veggies when I lived there. -CP

Michael The Magnificent said...

My grandfather used to have a tavern in Fox Lake WI, where he had a big glass jar full of pickled pigs feet, and people would buy them to eat at the bar.

Not my idea of pub food, but there you go.

Jim in St Louis said...

St Louis Soulard Market- always has chicken feet and also live chickens for sale. I learned from my Vietnamese friends that Asian cuisine and Asian tastebuds prefer fresh (really fresh) chicken. Sort of like really fresh fish. (OT-My friend Mai's mother does not say "Hello Jim, How are you?" She says "Jim-Have you eaten?") (also OT Mai is the tallest member of her family-she came to the USA in '75 and she is the only one in her family who drank milk every day at school- calcium made her bones grow) (sorta OT- Chicken Feet ain't bad- sorta chewy) (last OT statement cause the fish comment made me think of it--how come I can't buy Croppie anywhere? Croppie are the best eating fish-and I never see it in the stores)

Skeptical Voter said...

I've seen a lot of orders of chicken feet consumed by other tables at my favorite dim sum place in the San Gabriel Valley. Usually my friend and I are the only two non Asians in the place (and it seats 250 people or so). But we've always given the chicken feet a pass.

But I've got the new Rancho Gordo pozole cookbook, and Steve advocates the use of chicken feet when making chicken stock for chicken pozole---and pork trotters when making pork based pozole. You add those things for the consistency/viscosity they give the broth.
I can get both chicken feet and pork trotters at one of the nearby Mexican supermarkets. I'll give it a shot one day.

walter said...

cold pizza,
I remember Temple St. market in HK, seeing something akin to a flying squirrel (webbed) on a stick...emphasis on seeing.

Iman said...

The Demise of Rocket J. Squirrel!

Unknown said...

Beaks and backs are fine eats.

Nichevo said...

+1 on some of the above remarks. Chicken feet in dim sum are a big thing for them, I like them a bit, that is to say, I like one, then I'm kind of bored and if there aren't other people to finish the dish it's no good.

As for soup, yeah, it will add body, but no taste, so don't skimp on the damned meat and bones!

Fernandistein said...

If you're going to dance like an Egyptian chicken, watch your feet.

The chicken paw on the left does not have as much of the lower leg as the chicken foot on the right.
+
What’s the difference between chicken feet and chicken paws? They are similar to chicken feet except they do not contain part of the lower leg. They literally are only the foot (aka paw) of the chicken. This means they will contain less glucosamine and collagen than chicken feet, but are still a good choice for pets.

Fernandistein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandistein said...

"Under Inspection System Procedure (ISP) activity code 04C01, inspection program personnel will verify that establishments that want to produce poultry feet that are eligible to bear the mark of inspection maintain the identity of the feet with the rest of the carcass from which the feet were derived for post-mortem inspection and disposition purposes by one of the following methods:" [censored for your mental safety]

I think that means the feet and carcass should use the same pronoun.

h said...

A nearby Chinese restaurant offers: "Spiced Duck Feet 8 pieces, $7" "Spiced Duck WIngs 3 pieces $11.50" "Spiced Duck Neck 5 pieces $11.50" "Spiced Duck Tongue 200g $35" I'd appreciate any feedback about which if any of these I should regard as a "not to be missed".

Marcus said...

I have used chicken feet to add some gelatin to my chicken soup. Just once though. Other parts of the chicken can do that just as well.

THEOLDMAN

rcocean said...

The Chinese found a lot of clever ways to use every part of the pig and chicken. Fortunately, most Americans never had to do that. I've had plenty of these "random parts" Asians dishes, most aren't bad, but why eat Chicken feet when you can eat Chicken Breast?

Iman said...

Chicken feets washed down with a toast of snake blood, like they do it in the rural provinces!

Wince said...

With all the foot binding and now this, it makes me think there might be rampant foot fetishism in China.

Wince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Phidippus said...

I used to go to a noodle shop in Moriguchi-shi Osaka and sit at the counter eating my ramen and gyoza. The guys had a gigantic kettle (had to be 2 feet in diameter and 4 feet high at least) where they'd make the soup stock. One afternoon they were cooking up a new batch and skimming the foam off the top. That was when they'd take a big wooden paddle and push the chicken feet back down under the surface of the liquid.

You can't help but wonder where those chicken feet have been, but they did make terrific broth for their ramen. I suppose several hours of boiling took take care of anything living on them.

I am told that chicken feet have a lot of gelatin in them and help to make the stock rich. I have not experimented with this personally. I accumulate the tips from a few batches of chicken wings and use those instead.

Phidippus said...

Lucid-Ideas: "...tastes like turpentine that's had hyenas swimming around in it."

Do hyenas understand pool etiquette, i.e., what you should not do in a pool? Can we be sure?