“Put enough spicy sauce on anything and it will taste good” I repeat to myself as I prepare for my first Dakbal moment. Slowly, I pick up one of the spindly chicken feet in front of me and, checking for toenails, prepare to put yet another alien object into my mouth (no jokes please, I’m aware of how that sounds.)
To be honest, Dakbal was an easier jump to make than the above paragraph lets on. First off, the feet were suffocated with a red hot sticky spicy sauce (I had a bit of a Lady Macbeth moment in the bathroom afterwards) so I knew hot would be the dominant sensation. Secondly, they looked like they had more meat on them than some of the odds and ends you find in a box of mediocre fried chicken, and last but not least, the toenails had been removed, something I usually insist on in a pre-dinner snack.
As for the eating of the things, that was a different story. I first attempted using chopsticks, but despite my ever-improving skills was unable to angle it sufficiently enough to get a bite in edgeways. Next I downed tools and plunged in fingers first, making a pass at the chicken feet head on. This time however my teeth barely scraped the skin and I ended up with a face full of hot sauce that reminded me of when I dressed up as the Joker at Halloween. Thankfully my next attempt proved more successful, and I was soon dismembering, biting and slurping my way through the whole batch.
Once in, most of what was going on had to do with the hot sauce they were covered in. It was like that crimson, sticky, slightly sweet lava you sometimes get at fried chicken places, with a fair number of chilli seeds and slices thrown in for good measure -REALLY hot! The meat meanwhile clung together in little pockets of goodness and was by in large, tender and easy on the way down, with some slightly crispy skin giving it a bit of extra character to boot.
At 1000 won for ten, you really can’t ask for much more.