And I Can Cook, Too

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 5, 2007

The Agony of The Feet

Summer, my fellow student from Hong Kong, decided that none of us had experienced proper dim sum. She arranged for a giant table and the 16 of us gathered at Ying Chow on Gouger Street, Adelaide’s restaurant row. Summer did the ordering, and moments after the tea was poured the food arrived. And arrived. And arrived. We devoured bao, dunked steamed dumplings with “asian vegetable” in mustard, and slurped wide noodles in spicy hoisin. We munched our way through anise seed tea duck, minced pork with eggplant, and tripe with Chinese barbeque sauce. Everything was delicious and we were all in heaven. Then the chicken feet arrived. One plate of feet had been simmered in a light ginger broth, chilled, and topped with more ginger and green onions. The other had been coated in five-spice powder and deep-fried. There were sixteen chicken feet. For sixteen people. “Everyone was to have a foot”, Summer explained, “you cannot have dim sum without a chicken foot.” “Especially not if you study gastronomy” she added, when she saw the looks on our faces. We each reached for a foot. I got one coated in five-spice powder and deep fried, and took a bite. Crunchy chicken skin, hard to go wrong there. Five spice powder, one of the classic flavors of Chinese cuisine. Then my teeth, and my tongue, and my taste buds encountered something all three immediately determined was not food. The gelatinous, flavorless, gustatorily alien tendons that hold the foot together. My stomach indicated displeasure, and after a few obligatory bites, I put the foot down.

I can now honestly say I ate chicken feet. Note the past tense.

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