Here's What a Lunch of Chicken Feet Looks Like

Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, “Weird Recycling,” included a field trip to Golden Unicorn in New York’s Chinatown to eat some chicken feet. Our guest was Carlos Ayala of Perdue Farms. Ayala told us that the export of chicken feet, primarily to China and Hong Kong, is such a big part of Perdue’s business that the firm might be in trouble if that export market didn’t exist. Here are some snaps from Ayala and Stephen Dubner‘s chicken-feet lunch at  Golden Unicorn.

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All photos by Freakonomics Radio engineer David Herman.

Cor Aquilonis

I've been dying to use chicken feet in my cooking, but I have never seen them for sale where I live. This saddens me. I guess I'll have to special order them.


In many parts of southern Africa there is a meal sold by vendors on the street that comprises chicken heads and feet and is known as "Walkie-Talkie". Another popular street food is the "Smiley" - half a sheep's head, boiled and wrapped in newspaper. The grin's a little lopsided, admittedly, but there's no doubting where the name came from!


Oh I really shouldn't have looked at that with morning sickness already! lol


Alright, the title of this is "Here’s What a Lunch of Chicken Feet Looks Like". There is only one photo that showed the chicken feet. But Dubner's face sure showed up a lot.


Here in South Africa we know them as "Runaways".

Ian M

This reminds me of when I took my wife for dim sum for the first time while she was pregnant. I did not do this as a cruel joke, I just didn't consider how all the sights and smells may not go over so well for a pregnant woman. To say she was pretty green is an understatement.


I can't wait to listen. I've always wondered how you eat chicken feet and what they taste like.

The "All photos by Freakonomics Radio engineer David Herman" blurb is amusing. Almost reads like "Remember, he's a RADIO engineer, not a photographer."


When travelling in China, I have regularly been served chicken feet, duck tongues, duck heads, and various other items that would almost certainly have been discarded in the US. Not a problem -- I eat whatever my hosts are eating. But I wonder what has happened to what we would consider the"good parts" of these critters. They never seem to show up on the menu I'm being served. I have this conspiracy theory that the cooks actually eat those parts and send the parts trimmed off up to the guests.