WBEZ | shark fin sushi http://www.wbez.org/tags/shark-fin-sushi Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Shark fin: It's not what's for dinner http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/shark-fin-its-not-whats-dinner-104797 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8365289488/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sharkfinpackage.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Antique package of skinned, cooked, shredded, and dried Diamond Brand shark fin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>The new <a href="http://www.wbez.org/illinois-bans-shark-fin-sales-aid-global-effort-100577">Illinois law banning shark fin</a> went into effect on New Year&#39;s Day, but you can still legally eat shark fin soup in Chicago&#39;s Chinatown today. If you already had shark fin before January 1, 2013, you &quot;<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=051500050K5-30">may possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin</a>&quot; until July 1, 2013, so eat up.</p><p>Or don&#39;t.</p><p>The package of dried shark fin you see above is &quot;20 or 30 years-old&quot; according to its owner, who received it as a gift, and has no plans to ever cook or eat it.</p><p>I have eaten shark fin, in soup at Chinese banquets in this country and as sushi in Japan, but have never ordered it myself. There&#39;s not much taste, with a texture like <em>al dente&nbsp;</em>cooked&nbsp;<em>mei fun </em>(rice vermicelli), the key ingredient in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-12/comfort-me-minced-beef-and-egg-over-rice-104435">Hong Kong diner</a> classic <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/3834655064/">Singapore noodles</a>.</p><p>The primary appeal has been status, accorded by a relatively high price. At <a href="http://www.tonygourmetgroup.com/restaurants.aspx?id=292">Lao You Ju</a>, one bowl is currently listed on the menu at $16.</p><p>But at <a href="http://www.benusf.com/">Benu in San Francisco</a>, chef <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2011/12/no-sharks-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-this-shark-fin-soup.html">Corey Lee created a &quot;shark&#39;s fin&quot; soup using faux fin</a> made with hydrocolloids. They&#39;re ingredients found throughout our city, with our masters of modernist food. Lee&#39;s soup features a black truffle custard, with Jinhua ham (the&nbsp;<em>jamón ibérico</em> of China), and Dungeness crab.</p><p>Even the shark fin <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-04/i-dream-sushi-98002">sushi master I met in Japan</a> won international acclaim with a vegetarian, seaweed version of his most famous creation.</p><p>Despite our new local ban, and a <a href="http://youtu.be/mJG7RaLX-DM">campaign starring Chinese NBA star Yao Ming</a>, photos of <a href="http://www.garystokesphotography.com/blog/?p=1558">shark fins drying on a Hong Kong rooftop</a> were posted by photographer Gary Stokes,&nbsp;also on New Year&#39;s Day.</p><p>Which makes me wonder: Could Chicago chefs help save sharks worldwide?</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/7051625691/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sharkfinsushi.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Shark fin sushi (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></p> Wed, 09 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/shark-fin-its-not-whats-dinner-104797