Letters to the Editor

Restaurants didn't offer discount for replacing shark fin soup


After reading your recent article “Richmond considers shark fin ban” and the statements provided by the organization Shark Truth, I would like to wade into the debate and share with you my recent research into this matter.

Earlier this year, I searched for a suitable Chinese restaurant in Richmond to host a 30-person dinner party to celebrate our special event.  My key consideration was to find a dinner banquet menu that did not serve shark’s fin soup.

With this ground rule in mind, I contacted 10 well-known Chinese restaurants in Richmond, considered their 10-person set menus, and spoke with their respective managers.  I informed each of the managers that due to environmental concerns, I wanted the shark’s fin soup replaced with a different soup and asked for some options.  All of them suggested a substantially cheaper alternative, like winter melon soup, seafood tofu soup, or even hot and sour soup.  When I asked that the set menu price be adjusted to reflect the cheaper soup, all 10 restaurant managers flatly refused.

Because of this situation, I debated with my family about the pros and cons of serving shark’s fin soup at our function. Indeed, I admitted that it was hard to accept the idea of grossly overpaying for a regular soup in order to take a stance against shark’s fin, especially when the restaurants would (likely gleefully) make a highly unreasonable amount of extra profit from my environmental concerns.

Due to these restaurants’ position and the concerns of my family, I almost caved into accepting shark’s fin soup despite my own ground rule. No consumer likes being ripped off and without fair restaurant deals in place to reward those who refuse to eat shark’s fin, public education on this matter would be futile. Only an outright ban can properly protect the world’s vulnerable shark populations.

In case you were wondering, things worked out for us in the end. Alaska king crab became in season again and we chose a set menu that had this as the “luxury dish” instead.

Rhea Se


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