"Fried chicken wings, I've loved them since I was young ..." These classic lyrics are familiar to Hongkongers. This song about chicken wings has been heard in a number of popular comedies. Why is it about "chicken wings" but not "chicken drumsticks", Hei? You should think about that ...
In the good old days, when I first had chicken wings, they were a popular dish on the dining table at home. Today it is still chicken wings, but not clumsy drumsticks, that are most popular among local families.
You may say it's not as convenient to handle wings, but that is the essence of Chinese food culture! We love meat with bones which contain all the scent and flavour. With wings, we can enjoy the meat and the bones together, providing a unique taste.
There is no point rushing while eating, Hei. Just relax and enjoy the beauty of food - bones and all!
I have tried wings of many different flavours - fried, roasted, salt-crusted, honeyed and barbecued. Drumsticks rarely come in such a variety of flavours, as they are bulky and it's very difficult to soak them in seasoning and sauces.
Last, but not least, chicken wings carry a symbolic meaning to many: perhaps collective memories for an entire generation, like the theme song I mentioned at the start, or maybe the warmth of eating them together as a family.
As a student, I didn't have much pocket money. So at recess, instead of buying drumsticks, I had wings. Even though I now have more money, I still choose wings, as they are my true favourite - not just for the taste, but for the memories. Do drumsticks mean anything more than luxury to you, Hei?
Drumsticks are better because they are easy to eat and the meat is tender. Chicken breasts are the worst because the meat is tough and has no flavour. The wings and legs, which get the most exercise, are the best to eat; but I find that chicken wings are not convenient to eat if you are in a hurry. If I have to eat something on the run, drumsticks are the best choice. I can hold on the end of a drumstick and eat it as I walk down the street, without worrying about dropping it or soiling my fingers. Chicken wings are far more complicated: if you hold on to the tip and start eating the rest, how are you going to finish the piece of meat without getting your hands dirty?
Drumsticks are more than just a tasty treat. They have a prominent position in the city's culture. There was one TV show in which famous actress Petrina Fung Bo-bo played a poor girl whose dream was to have a chicken drumstick for every meal.
In the 1960s, eating chicken was a luxury for the average household. When families and friends gathered at the dinner table, mothers would remind their children not to go for the drumsticks because they are the best part, and so should be reserved for the elderly. See? It's drumsticks, not wings, they are the best.
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