Feb 5, 2009
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.
2000 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801