Snacking On Chicken Heads: 5 Things You Should Know
Chickens. Those fat little birds crowded desperately into farm sheds. Scrawny scavengers roaming the streets of third world countries. Delicious grilled, fried, or baked. Humans have eaten chickens for thousands of years. Chicken breasts, wrapped in shiny plastic packaging in the supermarket. Chicken legs, barbecued in the backyard on a sunny summer afternoon. But chicken heads, roasted on a stick? Are they delicious, delectable and juicy? Should you pounce on one the moment you see it? It’s up to you! I did, in Chaing Mai, Thailand! But before you try one, there’s a few things you should know.
1. They’re almost entirely bone and fat.
This specific part of a chicken has been cursed with an overabundance of fat, bone, and gristle. The neck in particular is especially fatty, and has a tendency to slide around in the mouth quite a bit before accepting its' fate and permitting itself to be swallowed. While you wrestle with the fat and rubbery skin in your mouth, don’t forget to carefully avoid crunching up the vertebrae!
2. Cracking the head and eating the brains is essential.
If you want to go all the way, be sure to crack open the chickens skull and slurp down the brains. Said to have a unique buttery flavor, Asian, African, and in some cases South American citizens have been eating them for years. Chicken brains are supposedly quite good for you, as well as being a delicacy in some countries. Can’t stomach it? That’s ok, I couldn’t either.
3. Despite their nasty appearance, they will not kill you.
Unless you’re eating them raw, there’s little to no danger of getting sick from a chicken head. The cooking process kills any bacteria that could have taken up residence in the bird's feathers, as well as making the meat tender and juicy. You will not find yourself with a bad case of “tourista” from one head, if you’re lucky. Some of the less adventurous among us however, may have a hard time even remaining in the vicinity of a grilled chicken head!
4. Enjoy it, even if you don’t!
Be sure to make a show of absolutely loving the chicken head. Give the vendor a big pat on the back, and don’t let any of your friends have a bite. There are a few advantages to this tactic. Not only will it please the vendor, it guarantees that your friends will want to try one themselves. Later, you can laugh at how you tricked them.
5. The Bragging Rights Are Worth It.
This is probably the most important thing you should know before setting out to try a famous chicken head yourself. No matter how awful it looks, no matter how strange it tastes, once you’ve tried it you will always have the story in your back pocket to tell friends and family members. And trust me, it makes a great story!
Now that you know a few of the essential bits of knowledge pertaining to the eating of a chickens head, go out there and try one yourself! You’ll never know that you like it until you try it!
Hannah Miller is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
Photo courtesy and copyright Hannah Miller, who really ate that chicken head