Friday, May 24, 2013

Many Westerners would probably cringe at the thought of eating the feet and head of a chicken. In South Africa they’re a common township snack food popularly known as “walkie talkies”. The “walkies” or chicken feet, also known as “runaways”, are eaten in all nine provinces in South Africa. In Cape Town, in the Xhosa language they’re also called “amanqina enkukhu”.

Relatively easy to prepare and best eaten by hand

To prepare for cooking the feet are submerged in boiling water to remove the outer layer of skin. Next they’re covered in seasoning, often curry powder, turmeric, salt and black pepper. Then they’re cooked. Most recipes involve stewing, grilling, frying or “braaing” (barbecuing).

Walkies are high in protein and low in kilojoules. They consist mainly of skin and tendons so their crunchy texture and flavour is different from the rest of the chicken. They can also be enjoyed as a meal with “pap” (a kind of firm Maize mash) and are best eaten by hand.

Explore other cultures through food

As author James A. Michener said, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” There’s little doubt that cuisine is a powerful, accessible, and enjoyable way to learn about other cultures.

Having said that, while South African food is as multicultural as its people it’s not necessarily centred on shock value dishes like chicken feet and Mopani worms. In fact, you won’t find either on our Gold Restaurant menu. We offer a more wholesome but no less edibly adventurous African taste experience.



  1. For those keen to know more on African delicacies you might want to read "Opening a Can of Mopani Worms" also featured on Edible Gold.

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