China’s Love of Shark Fin Soup

Shark fin soup is a delicacy that dates all the way back to the Song dynasty (960-1279). The fins are often shredded and added to the broth to provide texture and thicken the soup.

The dish later became associated with wealth and power and started to lose its popularity under Communism. It has seen a resurgence since the 1980s with some wealthy Chinese willing to “splash” out as much as $230 per bowl!

Shark fins drying in the sun cover the roof of a factory building in Hong Kong on January 2, 2013. Environmentalists and other concerned groups have raised concerns that the over-harvesting of fins is causing an environmental calamity. Hong Kong is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets. (ANTONY DICKSON/AFP/Getty Images)

But environmental and animal rights groups are “preying” that this trade will end. Public awareness of the issue is starting to spread. The boycott movement is going mainstream, with popular figures like Jet Li and Billionaire Jack Ma announcing they no longer eat the delicacy.

Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Many people think it’s time to ban the trade altogether.

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