Spicy Duck Web. One of the 7 Food Wonders of the World (Next to Turducken & the Bacon Explosion). King Hua Restaurant. Alhambra, CA.

Oh what a tangled web of duck...

By its appearance, the spicy duck web at King Hua Restaurant seems to have been quickly stripped off the foot of a dumbfounded duck like a rubber booty made for waterfowl — except, it’s not. Or maybe the technique was more in the style of a classic cartoon character who suddenly finds himself sans skeleton and just sort of falls into a puddle of skin and flesh.

The thing is, in the real world, someone had to debone these duck feet for my dining pleasure. Imagine deboning a duck’s foot. Okay, now imagine doing it while leaving the duck’s webbed foot perfectly intact.

I can’t visualize an easy way to remove the bone from a duck’s foot without shredding it so horribly that in the end it looks like Freddy Krueger or Wolverine prepped this odd dim sum delicacy. But, as they say (kinda), where there’s a will to eat boneless duck feet, there’s a way to debone it. And, friends, it isn’t simple.

In fact, removing bones from duck feet is such a complicated task, it’s patent worthy (US Patent 5437884).

The patented method is maddening and involves freezing, thawing, slow cooking, clipping toes, soaking in bleach and hot water, inserting a tube, yanking bones out by hand, etc. This reads more like a Guantánamo Bay interrogation technique than instructions for processing duck feet.

No bones about it. Really.

And, clearly, the only sane reason to even consider applying for a patent for this exact purpose is that there must be a big demand for boneless duck feet, right? And take one guess at who demands all these fowl feet? C'mon, guess!

The answer: my brothers and sisters. Yes, the Chinese, of course! We love our spicy duck web. Even if, say, only 1% of the 1.3 billion Chinese on Earth love the spicy duck web, that’s still over 13 million spicy duck web eaters. That’s a lot of Yuan.

That’s also a lot of floppy feet slowly cooked, chilled then tossed in a spicy, red pepper sauce. The result is a unique textural dichotomy that many Chinese adore — slippery yet crunchy like seaweed with dimples. The flavor acts as accessory. Duck skin is mostly bland with some taste coming from the remnants of fat lying underneath while the red pepper sauce lends these paddlers a little kick, so the big draw for people who deliberately order duck web is the mouthfeel.

Mouth. Feel. Feet. Yum-yum. Gimme some duck web dim sum. This is a feet treat that will have me running back for more.

King Hua
2000 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801


Unknown said…
Brother can't get a little crunch? Served hot? One or the other, if not both?

Poultry foot texture is not entirely pleasant when cold, in this Anglo's opinion.
Eddie Lin said…
Brother Kyle,

Actually, my white friend at the dim sum brunch where I ate the duck web liked them. He didn't love them. He liked them. He's also a "liker" of chicken feet aka phoenix talons. So some of your Anglo brethren don't mind cold feet (of duck).
What about duck tongue? I like it best in rice porridge. My momma always says it's a luxury item because think of how many ducks you have to kill to get enough tongues for a bowl of porridge.
Eddie Lin said…

I got your duck tongue:

But, wouldn't you agree, it's much more difficult to debone a duck's foot than to tear its tongue out? Still, you're right, that's a lot of duck. Ugh, I just made myself sick.
Anonymous said…
Mmmm... feet...

btw - what the frak is oxygen bLeach??

Whatevs. It's not like anything that geLatinousLy dericious couLd possibLy be a heaLth food.

Damn, it'd taste so ono chopped up and mixed in some tarako pasta. Mmmm... kewpie mayo... ::drooLs::
Juliet said…
You have such unique dim sum treats there that I haven't experienced here (also the chicken knees). I can't wait to get down there again so I can try some!
Damn. I am a duck hunter and I pride myself on using everything but the quack. But. Damn. Sorry, Eddie, I am not taking 4 hours to debone my duck feet for a cold dim sum. Into the stock pot they go!

And Wandering Chopsticks? You got that right about duck tongues. I can make that dish maybe once or twice a season, tops.

But I got for you, Eddie: duck heart tartare, Puttanesca-style. Willing to give it a go?
Eddie Lin said…

yeah, bleach, no good. kewpie mayo, good.


LA's the place for odd dim sum.

hunter angler gardener cook,

that duck heart tartare looks really good. i'd love to try it. i'm not sure if i'd love to make it though. thanks!