oh glorious dakbal/chicken feet. I know I give off the vibe that I do not eat anything “disgusting.” truth is, i have an “ajae ibmat or 아재 입맛” (which stands for an older man like an ajosshi/uncle) tastebud. I love all food which appeal usually in particular to older men. example: sundae/blood sausage, gopchang/intestine, yukhoe/raw beef… and chicken feet of course. I never understood how some younger Koreans don’t like these food, because to me, they are the food which I REALLY crave for when I am away.
and a little funfact on dakbal: there are really two ways to eat chicken feet in Korea. one’s like this one, where they cook the chicken feet for you and put it on a grill or a steamed pot; another is the great soup dakbal which is usually in a thick spicy soup. I can’t really say which I like better as they both taste really good and as spicy.
to be honest, I’m most mad at myself because I lived in Korea for 6 years but I didn’t discover this dish until when I was about to leave Korea. I remembered the last week of my time in Korea I had spicy chicken feet almost every other day! that was how much I like it. pre-made “frozen” chicken feet are also available in many local Korean marts so if you’re not in Korea and you want to try it, please do try look for them! if you want to know how it looks like, google 냉동 닭발.
*apologies for the lack of photo illustrations of what I am about to describe as it is really difficult to eat with your hand and handle the camera. therefore let me explain in WORDS as detailed as I can!!!
this particular chicken feet restaurant is actually the fave of a popular girl group member SISTAR’s Soyou. when I saw her eating it on a Korean show.. I told myself I HAD to try it.
if you are coming here with friends who do not eat chicken feet… I’m afraid there’s nothing else other than rice and chicken gizzards to eat.. because this restaurant focuses on their amazing spicy chicken feet. the picture above is an order for 3 portions. yep I didn’t type wrongly. it’s for 3 people, not 6. the portion here is as worth it as it can be because chicken feet is quite an expensive dish. in this restaurant, it only costs 8,000won for boned chicken feet and 13,000won for boneless. the boneless ones are much more expensive actually because if you think of it, the amount they gave is the same, but without the bones!!! so if you are looking to get full, go for the boneless.
but if you like spicy food and uh.. chicken feet, trust me, order the boned one. not just because it’s cheaper, but it’s also spicier, more tasty and finger lickin’ good!
I’d like to believe that I have a good spicy tolerance level. but unfortunately… I am not as good as I think. for something like these very spicy spicy chicken feet, there’s only two ways to calm your adrenaline-rushed tastebuds:
- COOL PISS. okay I kid, there’s this sweet milky looking Korean drink called kulpis, which is suppose to tame your tongue on fire. but not until today, that I noticed the name of kulpis literally sound like cool piss. uhhhh…
- RICE BALLS! when something’s too salty, you eat it with rice. and when something’s too spicy.. surprise surprise, you also eat it with rice!!!
wear those gloves, mix and create these cute little riceballs and put it all over!
whenever you cannot take the spice anymore, just smudge some of that chili sauce on the riceball, and attach a boneless (skinned yourself or just boneless!) chickn feet skin onto it.
I promise you it’ll be the best feeling you’ll feel in a long time. it’s like the scene in Ratatouille when Remy mixes two ingredients together and he was in euphoria; fireworks everywhere and just soooo happy. mmm mmmmm!!!
also a little tip which I also learned from Soyou when eating BONED chicken feet:
- eat the chicken fingers one by one
- leave the “thumb” to the last and bite only all the fingers + thumb off
- use YOUR thumb to “skin” the rest of the chicken skin attached to the palms and wrists of the chicken feet
- take a riceball and smudge it with the chili sauce using it as a glue to stick the skinned chicken feet skin to it
- and enjoy!!!
- it’s super legit no joke
I went to the original Hyun Godae dakbal but they have branches here and there in Seoul. the sign board literally looks older than myself. and imagine how old they are that the auntie in the picture is now a grandma! not to mention they also bought the dakbal.com domain lol.
conclusion: if you are not disgusted with the thought of eating chicken feet, this place is a true 맛집 (matjib/yummy place) and I highly, highly recommend you to try it if you’re in Korea! if you cannot handle the spice though, there’s also another menu which is almost not spicy at all. but I cannot guarantee that it’ll taste as nice if it isn’t spicy!
현고대닭발 Hyun Godae Dakbal ($$~)
67-64 Jegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
14:00pm – 1:00am daily
originality *not applicable*
value for money ☆☆☆☆☆☆