Chicken Feet.

22 May

May 21st, 2011. Woke up to a sunny, breezy San Francisco day. The end of the world was no where near, and @KatManalac (of Hidden Menu) was back in town. What other way to celebrate than dim sum brunch at my favorite East-of-Filmore locale: City View Restaurant!

Shu-mei, shrimp dumplings, chive dumplings, soup dumplings, pekin duck pieces in sweet sauce wrapped in delicious white buns. Delicious of delicious indeed. But in true weird food spirit, it is inevitable that we tackle the most infamous dim sum of them all – Chicken Feet.

Being born and raised Taiwanese, again, had led some bizarre ingredients to become household products growing up. Chicken feet is one of them. My mother would buy about 30 – 40 chicken feet, stew them overnight in a soy sauce and melter rock sugar mixture, and eat them slowly while watching TV.

Chicken feet of the dim sum variety was slightly fancier. They were first fried to create a slight crunch, then braised in a sweet sauce (often used on sweet n’ sour chicken) with a generous amount of what looked like jalapeno and banana peppers to give it a nice kick.

@KatManalac asked a fair question: just what is being consumed when one eats chicken feet? There really isn’t as much meat as, say, pig trotters. “It is all in the skin,” was what I told her (and a bit of the tendon, of course). To eat a chicken foot, one would bite of the tiny pieces of bones by the joints, then eat the piece of skin around it. It was time consuming, but sort of created a fun around is – quite similar to eating sunflower seeds.


The skin was thickened from the frying, then soaked orange in the sweet and spicy sauce. It fell off the bone easily, had a crispy yet softened texture. The tendons was slightly chewy like beef tendons, but not as meaty. While it was a bit time consuming for what we got out of it, the experience itself was mildly entertaining in a snacking sort of way. And that is the point of dim sum, which in Mandarin also stands for “snacks”. You see what I just did there? No? No wonder I wasn’t saved from the Rapture.

City View Restaurant | 662 Commercial Street | San Francisco, CA 94111 | 415.398.2838

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