Fob revelation: Shark fin soup — the battle between belly and brain

I really wish I didn’t like shark fin soup so much.  And shark fin dumplings.  And pretty much anything shark fin.

As a kid, we took our family vacations snorkeling and scuba diving in the blue waters of South East Asia, so marine life has a special place in my heart.  I’m horrified by fishermen’s practice of hacking off the fins of sharks, then setting the sharks free to drown, finless.  But the problem is. . . it. . . tastes. . .so. . . good.  Gah!  I mean, the fins aren’t supposed to even taste of anything, right?  So how is it that anything sharks fin is so damn tasty?

So I was really taken aback and encouraged when I recently read that in Hong Kong, the city where people are known to eat anything and everything, a growing number of people are taking a stand against sharks fin.  Sharks fin!  The beloved Chinese delicacy, the dish that represents exquisiteness, the dish that you always have at any wedding or celebration.  Perhaps we Chinese people aren’t completely heartless about what we eat after all.

“I saw the cruelty in shark slaughtering in online videos. The way the fish is dumped back into the water — it is just inhumane,” Steven Leung said.

Steven and his wife, Sylvia Cheung, decided to omit sharks fin soup from their traditional 13-course Chinese wedding banquet.

“Shark fin is not a necessity at banquets, as long as guests are well-treated and there is good food,” said Cheung. “We have great substitutes for the soup that are equally as prestigious and exquisite.”

As a hopeless foodie, my love for yummy often trumps all. But, after reading about how my fellow Hong Kongers are taking a stand, I think this may be one instance in which I’ll have to do what’s right over what tastes good.


(Thanks Hubie!)

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  • Thank you so much for that decision! And if you would ever be tempted to eat SFS again, then please play this video and pledge to do the right thing!

    and remember Jao Ming and Li Ting:

  • Karen Neubauer

    Good on you for taking the positive step of refusing shark fin soup! It is an horrendously cruel practise and hopefully more and more people will do the same in declining it.
    No Shark Fin Soup!

  • Kevin Van der Beeuren

    I’m so happy to see you opened your eyes to this insane practice. I hope many more chinese people will be encouraged to do so. Regards!

  • Rowan Watt-Pringle

    Great stuff, you can be proud of your choice and I hope many more follow suit… I have made the same sacrifice with tuna… love it, but can not in good conscience carry on eating it due to the huge amount of other marine life killed as bycatch – including sharks. Tinned tuna may not be the endangered Bluefin but I have made a commitment to cut it all out. Congratulations to you and please continue to spread the word!!!!

  • Congratulations on making the right choice 🙂
    It IS a horrific parctice – but even more than that it is driving sharks to the brink of extinction and drastically altering the oceans for the worse.

  • Cossie

    Great that you sensed the cruelty and decided against the shark fin soup although you like the taste!
    I hope much more people will follow your example!
    You can be very proud of you!
    Go on!

  • Barbara Buchholz

    I hope many chinese people will take you as an example. The children of your children will thank you one day.
    I wish you many other heartfull meals. Regards!

  • Ashley

    Thank you so much for caring for these wonderful creatures. Please continue to spread the world on the cruelty of this practice. Together we can keep sharks around for years and years to come. 🙂 Lets help creatures that cannot help themselves.

    Thanks again.

  • Maybe it tastes so good due to the chicken or beef stock they use to boost the flavor! Sharks need to live, they are worth so much more alive than dead. Check out my website to see how so many people, and more daily, are enjoying the interactions with these so misunderstood creatures.

  • Asian countries consume way too much sealife. As the world is changing – it is time to put a stop to the barbaric killing of sharks, bluefin, whales and dolphin. “The Cove” opened my eyes – what a DISHONORABLE practice. There is NOTHING honorable about the slow and painful death those dolpins are suffering… dispicable.

  • Julie Wright

    Thank you for putting the sharks’ well-being before your own satisfaction.The world needs more selfless people like you!
    Do you tell people around you of your decision &the reasons for it?We need to raise public awareness so others can change their eating habits in the face of the mass destruction of most shark species.Thanks for them!

  • Alisa Schwartz

    Sharks are vital to healthy oceans world wide! Shark finning is a barbaric, cruel, wasteful & unsustainable practice. With many shark species on the brink of extinction & the high mercury content contained in shark fin, you have made a very wise choice. Thank you! I hope you will continue to educate those around you to follow your lead!

  • Thank you so much for your decision to never eat shark fin dishes again!
    Hopefully more and more people will follow your example and understand that we need sharks in our oceans. Our future and the future of our children depents on it.

  • On behalf of my future grandchildren and their children, I thank you for leading by example. Thanks also to Steven and Sylvia Cheung for putting benevolence before tradition and “status”. Selfless acts such as yours prove that the human species, as dominate as it is, can still be compassionate for the other species that share the same planet.

  • Suzanne Leung

    Thanks, fellow shark & ocean lovers! I truly appreciate all your thoughts and comments!

  • You can get pretty good imitation vegetarian “zai” “shark fin” made of the same stuff as the “fun see” (glass vermicelli)
    Speaking of “zai” I used to love the fat choy (black moss) stuff but it’s been overharvested that you can probably only get it on the black market.
    But yeah…good on you for posting this!

  • Catherine

    sharks might become extinct in 2020 if you guys didn’t know… and the food chain of the sea will be unbalanced. this is bad things people if you didn’t know…