I grew up thinking that everybody in the world eats chicken feet, or I guess I just haven’t met anyone who shudders in disgust looking at a plate of steamed or chicken feet adobo, that is until I came to Saipan six years ago. A new American friend invited me for lunch and we went to this hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Garapan. I saw chicken feet in the menu and decided to order it. My companion looked at me as in “seriously?” like he was thinking I was kidding. I was not.
Then he asked how anyone could eat those chicken feet when you don’t know where those feet had been trampling about earlier before they were butchered. I saw he was serious so I ordered chicken wings instead. I learned that not everyone eats chicken feet and while majority of the people in China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, South Africa, Peru, Mexico, Philippines, Middle East and Vietnam consider it a delicacy, a huge chunk of the world’s population won’t even consider taking a bite of it.
Chicken feet BBQ is very popular in the Philippines. It is usually sold in the streets when it gets dark, and is a very popular hit with kids and adults. I like chicken feet cooked adobo style—marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, onions and garlic, simmer until the feet are tender and all the liquid is drained then pour in a bit of oil to fry the chicken feet.
Chicken feet is served in several Chinese restaurants on Saipan like Guangzhou Restaurant in Garapan, (just be sure to tell the wait staff not to make it too soft and tender or else it will feel like you’re sucking on gelatinous claws (lol), Oriental Dumpling on Middle Road and other Chinese restaurants.
As soon as you get past the images of nails and claws and visions of where those feet had been before its date with the knife, you might even learn to like it.