China: Extreme Eats
I have to say that my whirlwind trip to Beijing and Shanghai brought me many delicious and memorable culinary experiences that I'll be telling you all about this week. The only really extreme eating I did, the kind that scared me, was on the last night there. I insisted on ordering chicken feet simmered in brown gravy. You see, one of the things I learned from a tour guide to the Great Wall of China was that China imports chicken feet and gizzards from the US. I believe this since chicken is really popular in the States (as it is everywhere) but most U.S. supermarkets do not carry these parts. The feet had to go somewhere, right?
Above you see the dish, 5 chicken feet in the promised brown gravy with broccoli. My adventurous spirit waned as soon as the waitress brought me the plate. The feet were much bigger than I had imagined. I had figured them to be half their actual size. And they looked fingery. Their slipperiness thwarted all my attempts to hold them up with chopsticks, which further weakened my resolve. But I tried them anyway. I finally got one foot within my chopsticks and lifted it up to my mouth. I bit off the middle finger from the top knuckle. It was...soft, kind of creamy. A bit like fat from slowly braised meat that becomes sort of gelatinous. The flavor was very good, very brown gravy-ish. I have to admit having exhausted all my desire to ever eat them again, but at least I tried it. Have you ever had anything like this? Did you like it?