The feet of Dong Tao chicken – named after the commune where it is raised in northern Vietnam – are considered a delicacy and are especially popular during the Tet holiday, the Vietnamese New Year.
Hien chooses his best specimen, a bird whose legs weigh about a fifth of its weight, sold to a wealthy client for $150.
Exceptional dragon chickens can find takers for ten times more, and some are even entered in beauty contests.
The specific taste of the dragon chicken’s feet comes from its diet of corn and rice and its free-range farming, Hien told AFP.
While laying hens are kept in battery cages, chickens raised for their meat roam freely in a small enclosure.
“The more the chicken walks, the stronger and bigger its muscles are,” explains the breeder, who started his business 15 years ago.
A Dong Tao chicken can weigh up to 10 kilos and its meaty legs are prized for their rubbery texture and low fat content.
The meat is sometimes served boiled, but also fried, stewed, or with lemongrass.
Le Van Luan, who chose a chicken with blistered legs as a year-end gift from Hien to give to his relatives and business partners, is a regular customer.
“The best part of Dong Tao’s chicken is the skin on its legs. The thicker the legs, the tastier they are,” he says.