The Washington Post

Chicken feet in China, and other animal-part delicacies we eat around the world

For years, the U.S. failed to see the value in chicken feet, a plump, hearty part of the bird that mostly ended up ground into pet food.

A man sells chicken feet at a market in Shanghai. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

But about a decade ago, the U.S. chicken industry realized the Chinese felt differently. “Those same feet are a popular crunchy snack, typically cooked and marinated, and often washed down with a beer,” The Post’s Beijing correspondent Keith Richburg reports. In the subsequent 10 years, the trade of chicken feet from the U.S. to China went from virtually nothing to some 377,005 metric tons worth $278 million in 2009.

Last year, China wised up to the lucrative deal the U.S. was getting and began to impose stiff duties on the chicken parts. “The Chinese move,” Richburg writes, “raised an interesting legal question: How can the United States be dumping an item at below cost in China when that item is considered virtually worthless at home?”

As the trade spat heats up, it’s got us thinking back here in Washington: What other animal parts considered inedible (and worthless) are valuable delicacies elsewhere in the world?

Below, we’ve rounded up photos of some of the weirdest, wackiest animal parts served as delicacies, but everyone has their strange food tales. Let us know yours in the comments, or on Twitter using the hashtag #weirdeat, and then check out the responses here.

1. Testicles

(Marko Drobnjakovic/AP)

2. Snake parts

Below, a butcher at a snake slaughter house in the region of Bantul, central Java, pauses as he cleans cobra meat. He’ll then deliver them to local restaurants that serve snake parts as a delicacy.

(Sigid Kurniawan/AP)

3. Goat intestines

Below, women clean the intestines of of a goat slaughtered as a sacrifice at a squatter settlement south of Johannesburg in 2007. The goat was slaughtered prior to a night-long marathon of prayer and cleansing after a death in the settlement.

(Denis Farrell/AP)

4. Sheep nether regions

In Beijing, both the raw and fried versions of the male sheep’s nether regions are sold on the street.

(Teresa Yung/Memento Viver blog )

5. Cow brain

(Daniel R. Patmore/AP)


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