This past Saturday marks the start of the lunar Year of the Rooster. Families in China and across Canada will be celebrating with festivities, fireworks, and food. While tradition calls for feasting on “auspicious” foods, many will also be munching on staple snacks like “phoenix claws,” the Chinese name for chicken feet.

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Chicken feet are considered a throw-away food in the West, where farmers often grind them into feed for pets and livestock. But across much of Asia, where diners prefer eating meat on the bone, they’re a considered a delicacy. During this particular celebration, the Chinese like to eat foods that are considered lucky, like dumplings and fish. 

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“Not only are they tasty, but it’s believed they have a lot of collagen, so if you eat them it’s good for your skin and makes you look beautiful,” said Liza Chu, author of a guidebook to Hong Kong dim sum dishes including chicken feet.

“We all need some rooster energy. Roosters are energetic. They can be very aggressive. They are not shy,” said Chu. Those born in the Year of the Rooster are “very outgoing people.”

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