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Three adventurous Chinese delicacies you must try in Chinatown London

Taste authentic China

What’s your favourite Chinese dish? Sweet and sour pork? Crispy chilli beef? We’re guessing it probably isn’t duck tongue or tripe. Let’s face it, when scanning over a menu there is always a handful of weird and wonderful-sounding dishes glanced over all too quickly. We’re here to demystify these quirky ingredients and show how tasty they actually are. Be bold and order one of these adventurous dishes next time you’re in Chinatown London.

Chicken feet

You may see them on the menu under their alter ego ‘phoenix claws’, but chicken feet are an iconic Chinese delicacy and have been since the Zhou Dynasty (1066 – 221 BCE). In China, they’re ultra-versatile and can be served as a bar snack, part of a dim sum menu or part of a main dish. What’s more, chicken feet are prized for their high collagen content, which is fab for hair and nails.

While you may think they’re spiky-crunchy piles of scrawny talons, chicken feet are carefully slow cooked with soy, ginger and garlic until they become tender and melt in your mouth. The trick to eating them is to bite a piece of the foot, suck and pull off the skin, savouring the juice and tasty flesh.

Three ways to try chicken feet in Chinatown:

1) Chicken Claws in Black Bean Sauce at Orient London

2) Steamed Chicken Claws in Abalone Sauce at Imperial China

3) Chicken Claws Marinated in Wine Sauce at Lotus Garden

Tripe

While it may conjure up gag-worthy images of something granny would cook and serve in gravy back in the 1980s, tripe is a super-popular ingredient in Chinese cooking as part of the country’s nose-to-tail eating philosophy.

Tripe is essentially the stomach lining of sheep or cows and when lovingly simmered or steamed, becomes tender, moist and delicious. Banish aforementioned granny connotations, in China, tripe comes wish lashings of chili, garlic and soy. Health fiends, look this way: tripe is nutritious and loaded with vitamins, plus it’s low in fat too. Trust us, you’ll discover tripe is great, not offal. We’ll get our coats…

Three ways to try tripe in Chinatown:

1) Steamed Tripe with Ginger & Spring Onion at Golden Dragon

2) Beef Tripe Skewers at Baozi Inn

3) Mala Fiery & Numbing Hotpot with Beef Tripe at Hot Pot

Duck tongue

Did you know that ducks even had tongues? According to Chinese food guru, Fuchsia Dunlop, duck’s tongues were seen as status symbols among Chinese families because it was considered extravagant to be able to afford so many of one tiny part of a duck. About three inches long, they’re satisfyingly – and surprisingly – meaty. Rich in fat means they’re full of flavour too, like an intense hit of duck-y goodness. Whether deep-fried, stewed or marinated in wine, duck tongue is one delicacy you want to try.

Three ways to try duck tongue in Chinatown:

1) Duck Tongues and Spicy Preserved Egg at Little Four Seasons

2) Stewed Duck Tongue at Old Tree Daiwan Bee

3) Buy them to cook yourself at SeeWoo supermarket

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