Many Xiamen hotels have recently suspended serving shark fin soups or put the dish on unadvised list amid an appalling scandal that many shark fins served in restaurants are fake and could be poisonous.
An investigative report by China’s CCTV Focus found that many restaurants in Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian are serving artificial shark fins made from mung bean starch, gelatine, sodium and various chemicals, all which give the characteristic mucilaginous appearance of shark fin.
CCTV estimated that up to 40 percent of the shark fins consumed in mainland Chinese restaurants could be fake. Experts warn that chemicals and additives used to make fake fins are poisonous and could damage the lung and other organs.
Shark fin soup is a luxury dish often served in expensive restaurants and on special occasions, such as wedding feasts. In a Zhejiang restaurant shown in the CCTV video, a fake bowl of shark fin was sold for 150 yuan (US$24), while the ingredients cost only 5 yuan, said the report.
According to a report by Xiamen Daily, many star-rated hotels in Xiamen had launched a campaign to stop serving shark fins ever since last year. So far, Pullman Xiamen Powerlong Hotel, Marco Polo Xiamen Hotel, Hotel Nikko Xiamen and many other hotels have suspended serving shark fin soups.
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