Rants

Where Do Florida Restaurants Buy Shark Fin?

Following up on this week's "Should Shark Fin be Outlawed?" I went back to Silver Pond to ask about the soup. "No one really orders it," said a manager who's helmed the dining room for the past four years. "It's way too expensive."

And the price is of fins is on the rise. The federal ban on finning,

objections to the practice on these shores --a contrast to demand from

abroad-- ensures fins are even harder to come by, he said. When I asked

where the kitchen gets them, he said various suppliers in New York. Why

not Miami, closer to the source? "There

aren't many Asians. They're going

straight to areas where lots of Chinese live," he said.


Over the years, the restaurant has gone with several suppliers, and

tends to buy them dried or frozen. "Whole fin is cheaper because they

have to be cleaned," he said, citing how laborious it is to clean a fin. Yet dried fin can be cut with filler,

allowing middlemen to make more profit on something that's already quite

expensive.


At Silver Pond, shark fin soup is served as "Braised Superior Shark's

Fin" in a price that I can't read (I'm guessing it's market price). It's also sold as I tasted it, with crab meat for $15 a

serving and $75 for a bowl that serves five. With shredded chicken, it's

$14 a cup, $140 a bowl. Any chance the shark fin soup will fall off the menu? "I can see it happening," he said.


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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart