06th Jun2011

Walky Talky

by LindsayTarquinio

One of my favorite things about traveling is getting to try the local foods and learn about cultures and people through them. Sometimes, this can be a very tasty way to travel…but sometimes, in the case of the Century Egg…and in the case of the Walky Talky, it can be…lets just say, interesting!

Gavin and I have been coming to SA for about 4 years now. Some of the foods here have become comfort foods for us. Things that we miss when we are at home. Rooibos tea, Pap Tert, Kobeljou, the Bran Muffins from InFoods, Mealie Bread…these are all WONDERFUL foods that South Africa has brought into our lives, BUT, there are also some South African delicacies that we have tried and pretty much had to choke down…and some that we have avoided trying for all of these years.

Case in point- The Walky Talky. More commonly known as boiled chicken heads (beak and eye balls fully intact) and feet (toe nails and all).

Well, this week, we have a wonderful group of high school students from Tennessee joining us in J’Bay. They are here to serve @ Ithemba, love on the kids and do projects in the community- but they are also here to experience South Africa for the first time. Next weekend, we are taking them to the Lion Park so that they can see all of the African animals and play with the baby lions. Throughout their trip, I will be making mostly South African dishes so that they can experience the culture through food… but last weekend, we wanted them to really experience J’Bay. So, we sent them on our version of The Amazing Race through the town. The day took them all through out the town…to try on wet suits, to eat ice cream at a local spot, the take pictures with the surfers, to do break out into dance at the grocery store…but their first challenge: to eat a Walky Talky.

I know what you’re thinking…how can we have them eat this when we are too afraid to try? We are big wimps, ok? But, our fearless friend Zach as eaten them and lived, so we felt ok about the challenge!

I got up early on Saturday morning and met one of the teachers from Ithemba, Queen to whip up this delightful meal for our group. First, I had to go to the grocery store and buy the heads and feet (something I never thought that I would purchase in my life) and then I headed to Ithemba where we put them in the sink to defrost. Thankfully, I had a light breakfast, because I was literally gagging at this point.

The little chicken heads still had the feathers on them…and their wind pipes exposed (EWW!) and the feet had dirt on the bottom, and really long toe nails. After they defrosted, Queen (thankfully she took care of this part) used a paring knife to cut the dirt off of the feet and peel off the top layer of skin. Then she yanked out the nails. Next, she moved onto the heads…removing all of the feathers, and opening the mouths to wash out the throats (again EWW!).

Meanwhile, she had me chop and onion, saute it in some oil, and dissolve a cube of beef broth in boiling water. Once the heads and feet were clean and ready…they were tossed in the broth to boil for about thirty minutes. And that’s it. No disguises…no nice crispy frying action…nothing to take away the fact that you are sucking on a chicken brain. I put them on the plate and served them to the group. Only one person from each team had to eat them, and they took it like champs! No one gagged. No one threw up. They just sucked it up (literally) and ate. Needless to say, no one asked for seconds!

One Response to “Walky Talky”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>