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Mangalore Chicken Feet on China's Plate

by 5m Editor
25 August 2010, at 10:44a.m.

KARNATAKA, INDIA - Guess what is discarded as waste in India and shipped thousands of miles lands up as a delicacy on dining tables in China? Chicken feet!

The feet, claws and all, as a gastronomical delight might sound comical to Indians who relish chicken legs but definitely nothing below. But hatcheries in Mangalore have found a thriving market for it in places like China, Hong Kong and Viet Nam. A prominent hatchery in this coastal town in Karnataka exports 25 tons of chicken feet to the Far East every month.

In China, chicken feet are popularly known as phoenix talons. Chicken feet is sold as street food, often deep fried, in other parts of Asia. Chicken feet is considered a culinary delicacy in some regions of the world, most notably in China and South Africa where every part of the bird is utilised to its fullest potential.

Lester DSouza, managing partner of Souza Hatcheries, told The Times of India that they had started the exports last year, though inquiries were made four years back. “Last year, a person came here, looked at the hatchery and gave us the specifications for the product to be exported," he said. Basically, the feet have to be cut properly without breakage, cleaned without using detergent or chemicals and quality should be maintained, DSouza said.

He uses freezer units available with fish export companies and sends the consignment once in a month to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Chinese restaurants in India don't use chicken feet simply because the concept of eating them doesn't exist here. When asked, they said they never used feet for stock and they get their chicken meat without feet.