Hey Hot Dish,
I've never eaten fried chicken feet before. I've seen them at my local co-op but are there any restaurants in the cities that serve them?
Chicken feet don't often spring to mind when Americans are mulling over choice chicken cuts, but in countries like China, Korea, South Africa, and Malaysia, the fleshy feet are esteemed for their gelatinous texture and distinctive, muscle-free flavor.
In Chinese cuisine, they're served in soups and main dishes, and as crispy snacks to accompany beer. Most Chinese grocery stores sell individual packages of crunchy chicken feet to be consumed as on-the-go snacks.
Chicken feet are slightly more difficult to come by in the Twin Cities, but our search eventually proved fruitful. In addition to the grocery stores that sell frozen chicken feet, there are a number of establishments that prepare them on site.
Dim sum favorite Mandarin Kitchen in Bloomington offers fried and steamed chicken feet for $3.95. Chicken feet are typically steamed in Chinese and Mexican cuisines as a way to make the feet puffy before adding them to a stew or sauce. Since there's not much meat on the bones to begin with, it's a helpful touch.
Fried chicken feet are also served at Shuang Hur Oriental Market in St. Paul for $1.99 per pound. While you're there, be sure to check out Shuang Hur's produce department -- it's one of the most affordable in town.
You'll also find a chicken feet salad at Tai Hoa B.B.Q. in St. Paul, a sprightly foil for all the authentic Vietnamese barbecue you'll want to order when you're there.
And of course, once you've tried chicken feet prepared at one of these fine establishments, you might be inspired to buy some at your local co-op and fry them up in your home kitchen. Try marinating them, steaming them, and then frying them -- with batter or without -- for a crispy, unique take on fried chicken.
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