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Are There Any Benefits in Eating Chicken Feet?

Updated on April 19, 2017
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Mazlan wasn’t into health & fitness, but as age crept up on him, he realized the importance & benefits of living a fit & healthy. lifestyle

Do People Eat Chicken Feet?

Eating chicken feet may sound gross to you, but it is a delicacy with the Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Korean.

But they are not the only ones. Even non-Asians are eating chicken feet. The Jamaican, South African, Trinidadian, and South American have their own versions of chicken feet recipes.

What is so special about chicken feet?

Some say the reason people eat chicken feet is to avoid wasting any edible parts of the chicken. This could be true as most ethnic groups that ate chicken feet were traditionally from the lower income groups.

Others say chicken feet are good for health.

Chicken Feet for Clear Complexion

One of the positive, health-related benefits of eating chicken feet is a good, clear complexion. Research by the Department of Animal Science of National Chung-Hsing University in Taiwan showed that chicken feet contained a lot of collagen[1]. Collagen, as you know is the ingredient for youthful-looking skin.

In case you are not aware cooked chicken feet will expand. Good example is chicken feet prepared in Chinese Dim Sum
In case you are not aware cooked chicken feet will expand. Good example is chicken feet prepared in Chinese Dim Sum | Source

Chicken Feet and Collagen

The research at this Taiwanese University also confirmed chicken feet are good alternative sources for collagen. The usual sources for collagen are from bovine, pig and marine fish. But the production cost from these sources is very expensive.

It is not only rich in collagen, but also a good source of hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulfate. Hyaluronic acid is touted as the fountain of youth i.e. it can prevent the effects of aging. Chondroitin sulfate is good for osteoarthritis, hence good for people with joint problems.

What are Collagen and What Are Its Benefits?

Collagen can simply be described as a protein that acts as a glue that 'holds our body together'. The benefits are not only for the skin but also for the heart and can even improve athletic performance. Other benefits of taking collagen[2] are:

  • Healthier and younger looking skin
  • Rich in calcium and protein, without the carbohydrates
  • Improves blood supply by strengthening the blood vessels
  • Assist the body in metabolizing fats, therefore good for weight loss
  • Slows the effect of arthritis
  • Reduce pain and swelling (inflammation)

Most collagen, or collagen supplements, are expensive. So, why should you pay so much when you can have a cheap or almost free alternative?

Use chicken feet in your soups, broths, and cooking to enjoy the benefits of collagen.

Drink Ingestible Collagens for Smoother and Firmer Skin?

For centuries, Asians have been taking certain foods and drinks to keep their complexion glowing. Now, beauty and pharmaceutical companies have started marketing beauty-from-within products and this includes collagen drinks.

Do they work?

Dr. Stefanie Williams, a dermatologist & medical director of European Dermatology London, says that some collagen drinks actually live up to their claims of providing better-looking skin.

Do you want to try?

Beauty Product That Uses Chicken Feet

BioCell Collagen, an American product that promotes younger-looking skin and active joints, makes their collagen peptide complex from chicken feet cartilage.

I have not tried this product yet but based on Amazon.com reviews by users, 67% gave it a 5-star rating and 5% gave a 1-star rating. This is from 392 reviewers.

Click on the Amazon advertisement (on the right) to read detail comments from these users.

Chicken Cartilage for Arthritis

Chicken feet consists of bones, skin, and tendons, but no muscles. These are packed with protein, calcium, collagen, and cartilage that are easily absorbed by the body. These are the essential nutrients required for good joint movement to minimize arthritis and joint pain[3].

Instead of buying supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin, use chicken feet in your soup or broth and enjoy a cheaper option for joint health.

This is why Chinese martial art experts like chicken feet so much!

Despite the goodness of chicken feet, many are still not eating as it reminded them of human hand!
Despite the goodness of chicken feet, many are still not eating as it reminded them of human hand! | Source

Research on Uses of Chicken Feet

Powdered Chicken Feet to Regenerate Neutrons

Many years ago Dr. Harry Robertson did a research on the potential of chicken feet to regenerate nerves, bones, muscles, and its healing effect on spinal cord injury. The research and discoveries showed promising results.

However, it was subsequently stopped by the FDA and it was never continued. Issues with sanitation and testing methods were some of the reasons why it had to stop.

According to Dr. Robertson, chicken feet were the greatest medical advancement since the introduction of penicillin, and it was a shame that FDA had to stop this research.

Check out this article on Dr. Harry Robertson, for more information.

Now That You Know The Goodness Of Chicken Feet, Will You Eat Chicken Feet?

See results

How to Cook Chicken Feet

Preparing Chicken Feet for Cooking

Are you now ready to enjoy the goodness of chicken feet? Let's get working then.

Cleaning chicken feet is quite easy, but if this is your first time, it can be a bit awkward. Follow the following steps and you will soon be an expert!

  1. Wash chicken feet thoroughly
  2. Next, rub them with salt to remove any stubborn stains
  3. Then scald the chicken feet in boiling water for about 3 minutes
  4. Let it cool before you peel the yellow membranes on the feet
  5. Using either a sharp knife or a kitchen scissor, chop off the tip of the claws/nails

The chicken feet are now ready for cooking.

Chicken Feet Recipes

If you feel the urge to be adventurous, here are links to some chicken feet recipes from Asia and the Caribbean:

Mexican boy enjoying chicken feet in Mexico City
Mexican boy enjoying chicken feet in Mexico City | Source

How to Eat Chicken Feet

It depends on the dish.

For the Chinese dim sum chicken feet recipe, the feet are marinated in soy sauce, black beans, and several spices. The fun is in sucking at the bone and enjoying the juice/sauce. You bite a piece of the foot, suck, and pull off the skin. It is scrumptious if it is properly cooked and marinated, and you should eat it. Remove the small bone from your mouth and continue with the other portion of your chicken foot.

For the Mexican chicken feet recipe that is breaded and fried, the soft outer skin is chewed, but the rest of the feet are left uneaten.

If chicken feet are used in soup, then eat all the parts except the bone. Alternatively, you can bite at one of the toes and suck in the juice.

If it was grilled, as in Filipinos dish "adidas," then bite off the skin and eat just like a drumstick. The bone? Toss it away.

Where to Buy Chicken Feet

If you live in Asia or another country where chicken feet are a delicacy, you will have no problem. Otherwise, you can get them in most Asian butcheries. Alternatively, you can always ask your local butchers to keep them for you.

Frozen Chicken Feet

Still having problems buying chicken feet? Do not worry as frozen chicken feet are now sold online! Just search and you will find many companies offering them for sale.

These frozen chicken feet should be washed, cleaned, and graded according to size.

Grade A and A+ chickens will have feet between 4.7 to 6 inches (12-15 cm) in length.

Chicken Feet for Dogs

It seems the benefits of chicken feet are also enjoyed by our canine friends.

Some families fed their pet dogs with cooked as well as uncooked chicken feet (less the nails) and claimed to be good for their joint health. Since it is mostly cartilages, it is suitable for dogs that have problems chewing harder bones.

Dehydrated Chicken Feet

On Amazon.com, you can even buy the dehydrated, crunchy chicken feet for your dog. This 'Made in America' product advertised it as 'a good natural source of chondroitin and is good for dogs with a joint problem'. It went on to say that, these crispy pieces are perfect for any time snacks.

Can you feed cats with chicken feet?

It should not be a problem, but will your cat eat them?

Will More People Eat Chicken Feet?

Some say that it is difficult for the uninitiated to eat chicken feet as they looked like human hand. The idea of chewing on this "creepy stuff" already puts them off. It is hard for them to imagine chicken feet as food.

That was the case with chicken wings years ago. They used to be thrown away, but now demand has increased. In the USA, it was reported that sales of chicken wings peaked during Super Bowl, NFL Playoffs, and March Madness games.

Will this be the case with chicken feet? Will more people eat chicken feet?

What do you think?

Video on the Benefits of Eating Chicken Feet

I did a video to summarize the key highlights of this article. You can watch it here, or share it with your friends.

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      dagsieannejesion6@gmsil.com 4 weeks ago

      Very interesting, I will try broth to use in other recipes. Maybe try eating them.

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      Mazlan 3 months ago from Malaysia

      Helen, that sounds great. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experience.

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      Helen 3 months ago

      I have been making soups using both chicken feet and pig's feet and it healed my cracked heels which i have been suffering from for a few years. I havent even been using any lotion for my heels in months.

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      Mazlan 8 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi, Joe. That sounds fantastic. Come back and let us know of your experience. Look forward to hearing from you soon!

    • profile image

      Joe 8 months ago

      Can't wait to munch me some chicken feet! I feel younger already.

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 21 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi Babbyii. apologies for this late reply. Yup, you are right. In your country, the butcher will definitely give you that funny look if you ask for chicken feet. Thanks for the visit and your kind words.

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      Mazlan 21 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi peachpurple. You are right and it does sounds awful, but the chicken feet get cleaned anyway before cooking :-)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      I don't eat chicken feet not due to its outlook but think about it, the feces that it steps on before it died, ewwwww!

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 22 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Quite an interesting article. Never thought about the chicken feet. My joints would've benefited from it years ago. Can imagine the look on my local butcher's face - asking him to give me the chicken feet too. But then again, we do weird things here in Alaska all the time. Thanks!

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 22 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi moonlake. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Yes, it is encouraging to see so many people had voted on whether they will eat chicken feet.

      I recently read an online news article that things are so bad in Zimbabwe (it seems people are struggling to survive, as salary has not been paid for months) that they are surviving on chicken feet and gizzards! Well, you don't have to suffer, to try these 'delicacies'. Right?

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 23 months ago from America

      812 people have voted on your poll, amazing. I would eat chicken feet. Interesting hub. We eat gizzards why not chicken feet?

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi choosetolive. I didn't know that Indian recipe also uses chicken feet. Thanks for sharing this info and thanks for the thumps up.

    • choosetolive profile image

      Ravi and Swastha 2 years ago from London, Canada

      What a hub. Good information. In southern part of Asia like India as well people eat Chicken feet. The way chicken food it cooked, will be spicy & delicious. So that people don't feel awkward and due to its rich spicy taste people eat well. Thanks to the hub. Very informative one ! Thumps up

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      @FlourishAnyway, good to see you back here again. Thanks for sharing and the kind word.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I'm back because amazingly I know someone in need of your recipes and instructions on how to clean chicken feet. People don't talk about it too much but they are out there! Keep writing!

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi MsDora. I know chicken feet are in The Caribbean's cooking and I am sure your friends will appreciate that. Thanks for dropping and have a good day.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Never thought I'd read an article about chicken feet. This is really good information. I will share with some of my friends who has the same question in your title. Thank you very much.

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Green Augustine, thanks for sharing your experience. I have googled and you can actually buy chicken feet in the UK at several places including at Portobello Road in London. You can also try the Asian butchers near you. Thanks for dropping by.

    • profile image

      Green Augustine 2 years ago

      I lived in Spain for 25 years until mid 90's and chickens feet are often cooked in with soups, stews, rice dishes. You often see whole chickens in the butcher with head and feet attached. They also sell hens with their egg pouches in tact and when cooked in rice with broth, these are a great delicacy. In Spain the washed foot is held over a flame until all the yellow skin bubbles and blisters and is then easy to remove. And off course, the claws or talons are snipped off too. All these parts of the chicken are delicious and very nutritious. Sally Fallon's new book, Nourishing Broth, uses a lot of recipes with chickens feet, pigs trotters and Dr Kaayla Daniel supplies the scientific research as to why they are so good for our health!. This a really interesting blog. But where can you buy chicken feet fit for human consumption in the UK?

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      @Romanian: On its own, chicken feet doesn't taste great. You need to flavor it with other condiments, and then it’s ok. Are you ready to try it? Thanks for the visit.

      @FlourishAnyway: Hah, so you too agree with this idea of eating as much of the chicken parts as possible. I thought only Asians will think that way! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Have a great New Year.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      If people are going to eat chickens, I'd rather that they consume the entire thing so as not to be wasteful. This was a very interesting hub!

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      Nicu 2 years ago from Oradea, Romania

      Thanks for this useful article. Now I know that chicken feet it's healthy but also tasty.

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi MarleneB. I know chicken feet are not easy stuff to eat. But when someday you had built up the courage to try, come back here and tell us your story. I am glad you enjoyed reading it though.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I don't think I'll ever (knowingly) eat chicken feet, but I do know that you covered this topic thoroughly. If I wanted to get into cooking and eating chicken feet, this is the article to read up about it. Excellent information. I enjoyed reading about chicken feet.

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      ShariBerry, you are not the only one. It is either you like it or hate eating chicken feet. If you want to try, then take the one that is chopped into smaller pieces. That way, you don't get to see the 'scary feet'!

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 2 years ago from Michigan

      You kept my attention but my brain wouldn't let me put a chicken foot in my mouth. My stomach is funny that way. However, I can see the great health benefits.

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi DFW-Metro-Plex. That is a brilliant idea; chicken feet for your Halloween dish. I am sure it will make one hell of a dish. Chicken feet are also used as Voodoo Magic Amulet in New Orleans, so you can hang them around your neck, perfect for Halloween.

    • DFW-Metro-Plex profile image

      DFW-Metro-Plex 2 years ago from United States

      Hey, they could be a perfect Halloween fare! But honestly, I love chicken feet. Best cooked in spicy stew. Whether or not it makes me look younger. :)

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Thelma you are not the only one. There are many here that don't eat chicken feet, but wouldn't mind sitting next to someone who is chewing one!! Thanks for dropping by.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Until now I can not eat chicken feet as I always think of the dirt under the feet. Yikes! That´s what I said to my Filipino friends. I did not know that there are benefits in eating the chicken feet. Still I don´t like to eat that. Thanks for sharing the information.

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Maggie.L , let us know once you have tried them. In Hong Kong there are several recipes with chicken feet, so you should try them all!!!

    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK

      This is really interesting information. I've been to Hong Kong several times and have always been fascinated with the popularity of chicken feet but haven't been tempted to try. Now you've pointed out the benefits, I may try!

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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Maffew James. Thanks for clarifying and wishing you happy Friday and a wonderful Weekend. (our timezone is multiple hours apart!)

    • Maffew James profile image

      Maffew James 2 years ago

      Hi Greatstuff, I had a look at the study. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, so the arthritis is caused by the body's immune system attacking the joints, compared to other forms of arthritis which occur through gradual decline in joint function with use and aging.

      The study determined that the body mistakenly attacks joint tissue because it sees type II collagen as a foreign threat. Introducing type II collagen through oral intake desensitizes the immune system to this, thus reducing rheumatoid arthritis. This means that type II collagen is indeed a possible treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, but it isn't effective for any other kind of arthritis. In this case, immune cells in the digestive tract mediate the effect so the collagen doesn't need to reach the blood stream.

      Thank you for directing me to this study, it was rather interesting.

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Maffew James

      Thanks for sharing this important info. However, Wiki's article on collagen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collagen) states:

      "According to a study[55] published in the journal Science, oral administration of type II collagen improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis"

      There are several articles from other established institutions that support this claim as well.

      It is, however a valid point that you had raised and I will do more research on this. Thanks for the visit and have a great day.

    • Maffew James profile image

      Maffew James 2 years ago

      Collagen in food has no benefit for your joints. Collagen is a protein, and proteins are all broken down into amino acids during digestion. That's why insulin for diabetes is injected, for example, because it is a peptide and will break down into amino acids in the stomach, rendering it completely useless.

      If anyone wants to reduce their risk of arthritis, the best way is to simply limit movement of a joint as much as possible and strengthen the surrounding muscles to take work off the joint.

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Nell, octopus feet/arms especially in sushi taste a lot better than chicken feet! Anyway, give it a try to let us know if you like it or not.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hiya, its not something I would have thought of! lol! I didn't realise that people around the world ate them, but I would try them, hey I have eaten octopus so feet are not so bad! lol!

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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Suzanne Day, thanks for sharing your experience and thanks for the votes I am curious to know how you got started to eat chicken feet. Through your Asian friends?

      suziecat7, I know how you feel, but there's no harm in trying!

      Thanks to both of you for the visit and sharing your experience and thoughts. Have a good day.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 3 years ago from Asheville, NC

      No matter how good for us they may be, I doubt I'll be eating any soon. Great Hub though!

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I have eaten delicious chicken feet before and they are wonderful, kinda like the Chinese version of a roast done in cloves. You can see why the collagen would work, there is a lot of good fatty tasty little bits in the meat. Voted awesome and shared!

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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      choosetolive, thanks for sharing and the votes. Have a great weekend.

    • choosetolive profile image

      Ravi and Swastha 3 years ago from London, Canada

      I have tried eating chicken feet several years back. Though didn't knew the benefit. Very good information. Thanks for the article. Voted up !

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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      @Danida, chicken feet and head in their KFC family bucket? Wow, that must be their extra special! Thanks for the visit and sharing your views.

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      Danida 3 years ago from London

      Chicken feet...hmm. Maybe they do have benefits. There was once a news report on a family who found a chicken leg and head in their KFC family bucket. I guess if there are health benefits there are better ways to inform the public about them, and hubs like these are the way!

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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      @lindacee, When I did the research for this article, I found out that food from all animal parts are usually eaten in Asia, South American, Africa and parts of East Europe; countries that are not economically advantaged. Some of these animal parts have good nutritional benefits. Chicken feet are one such example. Thanks for the votes.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 3 years ago from Arizona

      Many cultures eat chicken feet, there must be some science behind it. I, myself, haven't indulged but that's just because we in the US aren't used to using all animal parts in our diets. I lived in South America and chicken feet are eaten in many Latin American countries. Hard to change perceptions, if it is something we've never tried. However, they do sound like they have nutritional benefits. Really enjoyed this Hub. Voted up, useful and interesting! :)

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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      @ Bert, you are lucky to have your very own supply of free range chicken and hence, chicken feet! Good for your joints and bones.

      @vespawoolf, it is good to hear that even in Peru, the benefit of eating chicken feet is a common belief there. Was it easy for you, raised in the USA, to eat chicken feet?

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      This confirms Peruvian claims that chicken feet are good for the skin. Although I was raised in the US where chicken feet aren't consumed, I have learned to eat the in Peru. They are usually found in soups. Very interesting that chicken feet can be purchased online!

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      Bert 3 years ago

      I have a pot full of chicken feet, necks, hearts, cleaned gizzards along with some onion, garlic carrots and spices on the stove right now. I'll make some soup with the broth, probably some chicken mole too.

      I raised the chickens myself... Too many roosters, so it's soup time. I've been taking glucosamine and chondroitin, so the benefits to joint and bone will be appreciated too.

    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      iguidenetwork, you are right, it isn't as bad as it looks

      JPSO138, ok now you have a good reason to continue eating chicken feet

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      I have been eating chicken feet from a Chinese restaurant. I never had any interest on it before until my wife convince me to try it. Now that I have read your hub, I will surely try it more often. Great hub!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I've eaten chicken feet at some point (barbecued or stewed in particular). They're not really disgusting as it looks. They're just gelatinous and yes, don't have a lot of meat -- just good for nibbling. It could be great as a stock too.

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      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Rajan, to the uninitiated, goat's trotters may sound just as bad as chicken feet. It is interesting, though to know that eating goat's trotter can help heals fractures and broken bones. Thanks for sharing.

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Interesting hub but I can't imagine myself eating them. I'd rather eat goat's trotters. They work equally well. Great for healing fractures and mending broken bones.

      Voted up and interesting.

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      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Om; the older generations within the East Asian communities know the goodness of chicken feet. That's why they loved them. Unfortunately, the newer generations may not be too familiar or the sight may put them off?

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      I should forward this hub to my mom; she LOVES chicken feet. They're certainly not my favorite part of the chicken. Too difficult to eat and not enough meat! However, I don't mind eating them sometimes when my mom cook them or order them at a dim sum restaurant. Nice hub!

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      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      @Iammattdoran, these 'exotic food' is hard to swallow and not all Asians eat chicken feet. In my family, my youngest son loved them, the rest of us don’t! When he is busy relishing the dish, the two sisters will looked at him in disbelief! Thanks for dropping by.

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      Matt Doran 4 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Interesting hub but I doubt I'll be trying chicken feet any time soon. Have to admit though, when I travelled in China last year I was fascinated at seeing all these people nibbling on these things. They're pretty much as common as eating a packet of crisps in the UK (or chips to my American friends).

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