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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Sharks fins soup

September 27, 2010 63 Comments

One of the questions I often get is “is there anything you not eat?”

My answer would be “everything a normal person would eat, except for kiwi and endangered species”.

Kiwi cos I had allergic reactions to it a couple times in my life, and endangered species, well, it’s nice to have bio-diversity and save some for the future generations.

I’d eat a dog before I eat a pangolin, basically.

sharks fin survey results

A few days ago I put up this simple survey (utilizing Nuffnang’s poll function, poll now closed) in order to gauge some of your thoughts with regards to sharks fin. There were close to 100 of you who responded (thank you!), and I must say the results are a bit surprising.

  • close to a quarter of readers think sharks fin is a must in Chinese wedding dinners
  • 30% will order sharks fin if price wasn’t a factor
  • almost everyone knows the cruelty in shark finning, or do not care

reef shark
a graceful reef shark, photo taken on my trip to Sipadan

As a matter of principle, I have already stopped eating shark’s fin soup even when it’s served over wedding dinners.

I’ll let you read about the damage shark finning can do to the environment and how completely nutrition-less and potentially poisonous mercury laden these fins are on your own leisure. However, for the sake of environmental preservation, we as consumer should stop demanding for these soup.

After all, it’ll be crazy to demand for tiger meat for your wedding, right?

Discuss : Sharks fins soup

  1. Hmm…but then again a lot of the shark’s fin soup they serve at weddings doesn’t even contain shark’s fin anymore.

    Or maybe I’ve just been going to the wrong weddings. ;)

  2. Agrees with huai bin, then again i’ll rather have some of the fake one with plenty of crab meat n some liquor +vinegar YUMZ!

  3. Okay… But why don’t you eat kiwi??

  4. Kiwi’s are endangered too! Oh wait, you mean Kiwi FRUIT? LOL.

    NO COMPROMISE on the shark’s fin soup, even if it’s during a high-class fine dining cognac food pairing event. (Apparently the BIG BOSS of the company that served that during the event also doesn’t eat shark’s fin. Ooops…)

  5. i love sharkfin. esp with lots of crab meat. yum.

  6. I have a question.. If its cos of cruelty, why do you eat foie gras then?? Its worst right?? Cutting the fin off a shark is a one of thing, the shark suffers then dies.. Force feeding a duck/goose with a funnel has to be constantly done to ensure that nice liver when harvesting..

    Although foie gras doesn’t involve the environment, the torture is bad enough man.. The only reason Westerners do not highlight what they’re doing to the goose/duck is cos they enjoy eating it.. They don’t enjoy eating shark’s fin hence the big hoo ha..

    Take another example, why do the westerners make hell lot of noise that the Japanese eat whale? The only reason I can think of is cos they don’t eat it themselves.. Fair enough, the Japanese government has banned the killing and harvested of Blue Whales as they are endangered species. They still eat the others.

    Its a narrow line there.. People who enjoy shark’s fin could say that as long as the fins from endangered sharks are not taken, no biggie.. Personally, I eat both foie gras and shark’s fin.. However, I won’t insist that Shark’s Fin is a must during weddings and big occasions..

    • TummyRumble: I actually have more problem with endangered species status than the cruelty factor. If one have a problem with foie gras, they should also look at the state of chicken coops and other industrial farms.

      The Japanese whaling problem is a lot bigger than what they claim they’re doing – “research”, and Blue Whales isn’t the only endangered whale.

  7. Shark’s fin is expensive and has nearly no nutritional value. I rather eat truffles over shark’s fin if I were to pay such a price!

  8. KY, you hypocrite! One moment, you preached about the cruelty in shark finning and your goody² principle of boycotting the shark fin soup during wedding dinners, next moment I know, you proudly proclaimed that you, not once but twice, had tasted those cute lil creature called kiwi.

    Seriously, I rather have tiger meat on my wedding than to serve BBQ kiwi on skewers. Uuurgh… SICK! :grin:

  9. For those who like to eat shark fin, you are actually poisoning yourself with hydrogen peroxide and ammonia
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/video/video.php?v=155640627788609&ref=mf

  10. I refuse to eat sharkfin since I know the cruelty & Pangolin got flesh to eat? :roll:

  11. Yeah, only those of traditional minds like to have shark’s fins during wedding dinners. Seriously, you can simply replace the fins with so many other things.

  12. Wah.. tiger meat for wedding???

    Hmm.. the red packet must be no less than RM2000 per person since i need to
    - find a way to locate these poachers
    - wait for a good breed of tiger or maybe cubs?
    - bribing the officials to bring these exotic meat across the borders
    - need to etc etc
    only then the wedding dinner jalan :PP

    HEY, how come u allergic to KIWI??? I thought u refer to eating the bird and NOT the fruits. LMAO

  13. For me, I wouldn’t order any sharks fin. I will not even encourage anyone to order it. But if it’s been ordered and cooked and served in front of me, I’ll take it. Do not waste food! Do you know many riverfish are also endangered right now?!! And people are still ordering them in the restaurants.

  14. I like the faux shark fin that have no shark fins in it but got loads of crab meat. Maybe leave out the shark fin and rebrand it crab meat soup?

    And someone pointed out the foie gras, which is also true. I guess to each their own moral values? I make a point to not eat foie gras since it seems just cruel. For the state of the chicken coops, I can only hope that the chicken they took for selling, is the same chicken coops that I’d seen where the owners let their chickens roam freely in the daytime.

    • dils: yeah, leave the fins, i love the crab meat soup too! free roaming chickens are those “organic” type, they’re a bit more pricey but some swears by the taste/health tho. :)

  15. can replace with half-cook tang hoon or not? both also no taste wan. lol!!!

    • Tey Cindy: just crab meat will do :D

    • cindy: i suspect many restaurants cheat ‘em customers by mixing lots of ‘tang hoon’ with the fins ;). Just dun order ‘em anyway… it’s really cruel… in fact, every wedding held shud come with a printed note on the card: “we do not serve shark’s fin soup, we believe in the ethical treatment/slaughter of animals for food”

  16. well… the last wedding dinner that I went to last 2 weeks was shark-fin free ;-)
    my friend supported the conservation of shark totally.. and kudos to him on his effort

  17. i pity those sharks … but dunno, i still eat shark fin if being served but will not order…

  18. I don’t think it is exotic at all, why pay so much money for it?

  19. What about sharks that aren’t on the endangered list? Can we eat them instead?

    • vincent: that wouldn’t be so bad but there’s still the chain effect on the environment when we remove top predators at that kinda rate.

      • So it’s not really that we can’t eat shark’s fin soup. It’s more of a matter of knowing what type of shark they are serving before we order?

        I am playing Devil’s Advocate here because ethics is a funny topic and obviously different people have different ethical tolerances towards different ethical issues. But what is clear cut is what is written in the law.

        And as long as the law permits it, I think a lot of people are going to look at it as fair game.

        • vincent: you have a point, but practically it is near impossible to know what type of fins are served, and traders will inevitably get those they can get.

        • I support what “Meng” says below… imagine yourself with limbs cut and thrown into the sea…if you can take that kind of treatment, then by all means, you can continue taking shark’s fin soup without any worries ;)

  20. The last time I attended a Chinese wedding which served shark’s fin soup was many years ago. Shark’s fin is made up of cartilage, does not taste good and has no nutritional value. It is OK for the fishermen use the entire shark for food on limited catches. But to cut up the shark’s fins and throw them back into the ocean is obscene. The shark will suffocate to death because it needs to swim go get oxygen. It is similar to cutting up your arms and legs and let you die in agony. You won’t suffocate but will die from pain :twisted:

  21. if you’re so concern about shark fins why do you eat foie gras? it’s not an endangered species but the way it’s made is definately inhumane. what about dolphin and whale whould you eat em’. i think your ethics on food is highly questionable.

    • rita: I’m more concern about the disturbance of natural food chain and species preservation than the inhumane part of it.

    • rita: foie gras is definitely not humane but KY is not an angel so you should not put a holier-than-thou imposition on his ethics. Foie gras is force-feeding the animal… u can say well, at least it died with a full stomach(liver)…ahem! Anyways, foie gras cannot be eaten in huge quantities and does not really get such a big following compared to shark’s fin. Just my 2 cents’ worth.

      • timothy: you do have a good point :D

        • good point??? r u guys saying that force feeding is acceptable…what if you were to be force feed..even if your stomach is full..and ppl still choking food in you mouth… is that pleasant?? not to mention the hazard of force feed machine doing to the duck.

  22. i support u in this!

    I stopped taking shark fin soup so many years ago that i cant remember. And whenever people asked me why and i said thats cause i am protecting an endangered species…they started looking at me funny.

    I have also known divers like me who dont take shark fin soup and when asked, they would reply that they do not like the soup instead of making clear points of their environmental concern. I know i shouldnt judge people, but i think if you believe in the right course, you shouldnt be ashamed to admit to it.

    It is disheartening to see for 1 person who refrain from the soup, another 500 people happily partake on the same. :cry:

  23. Good for you, KY.

    I am not against killing sharks, actually…it’s the way they just cut the fins off and throw the fish back into the waters and let them drown/die slowly that sickens me!

    I have utmost respect for you for posting this, please do not do any reviews on shark’s fin soup, even if it means you getting paid … hopefully we can create more awareness, especially amongst us Chinese that shark’s fin soup is a symbol of cruelty rather than prosperity!!!

  24. [...] lunch at Grand Millenium was quite impressive as well, we had chicken, fish maw soup (proved that you don’t need sharks fin), huge pomphret fish (but no waiter seems to know how to properly cut them these days), butter [...]

  25. [...] other goodies instead. Tastes better than any sharks fin soup that I had before (I’ve since stopped consuming sharks fin though, and I think you should [...]

  26. Prakash Kesavan

    Hi KY,

    Remember me? Irish Kilkenny beer,I followed this tag of your’s while reading your Yee Sang dinners. Its regarding the shark fin issue. It’s nice to see you have stopped eating it. If you know Chef Gordon Ramsey, he did a documentary about it. Here is the link for youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS775jXFlgA&has_verified=1, however, due to you, being in Malaysia, I doubt it will allow you to watch it. If you can watch then it’s good, if not type in ”Gordon Ramsey Shark Bait” in youtube. And please, please, please spread the word about it.
    Main consumer of shark fin is China. I think if the video of it is shown, to people, who don’t realize what is going on, then it will be helpful,but it has to start with the source, which is the restaurants its self. If they don’t serve it, no chance of it to be tasted right? Anyway, I hope you can put the video up on your website and spread the word. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

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