Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shark Fin soup!

Check THIS out if you're a foodie like I am! The story reminded me that I've actually had shark fin soup. Well, I had the 'soup' part of it. Let me know if you've tried it.

We were in Bangkok and I was with Mr. Z and about 8 Thai businessmen all seated around a large table in a very nice restaurant. All eyes had been on Mrs Z from the start of this multi-course dinner as if I were an American woman who would turn her nose up at anything exotic and ask instead for a Double Cheeseburger with bacon. Well, I had already won them over with a few courses before (I'll try almost anything and generally like it and was appropriately complimentary about the preceding course or two), so I didn't feel quite the pressure, and it's a good thing.
Shark Fin Soup has a broth like ambrosia and, surprisingly, it's a chicken-based stock. It would make a Jewish grandma's matzo ball soup taste like dishwater (never happen, not in any self respecting Jewish Granny's kitchen, right?) was SO delicious, so rich, this soup in the bowl!

Then, I took my spoon to what looked like a pair of nylon stockings at the bottom of the broth. Once I got a bit into my mouth, I realized it also tasted like a pair of nylon stockings probably would. Who knew shark fins were gelatinous and soggy? I left the whole ugly mess in the bottom of the bowl and enjoyed the broth. The waitress looked astonished at this when I gestured that yes, I was finished. I had the feeling she and the other waitresses would slurp up that apparent delicacy from my bowl once they got into the kitchen.

Because it was a $50 bowl of soup....ten years ago!

I had a bowl of $40 pasta in Rome about ten years ago (and many times after) which was fettucini tossed with white truffles. There is NO COMPARISON.

Skip the Shark Fin Soup.........go to ROME!

xxx Z


cube said...

Bonjourno Roma!

I'm not one who likes to experiment with terribly exotic food.

In Mr. Cube's family, they make raw kib-bee (I'm spelling it phonetically) and I've never once even tried it. His grandmother sure tried to get me to eat it and everything else. She always thought I was too skinny.

Anyway, she did teach me to make the cooked kib-bee, which we all love.

Z said...

Oh, Cube! Raw is GOOD! We call it Chee Koofteh.! My grandmother made it great, too! I think Kibbee is the Lebanese name for it...what's wrong with Mr. Cube's family!!?? (Smile)
I like it cooked, too...mmm

I think I just MIGHT start a new FOOD BLOG called (As tiob suggested) MAC AND GEEEEZ

Would anybody come read and participate in it?!

Leticia said...

Brave woman! There is no way I would eat any of that stuff, not to mention that I loathe anything that comes out of the water, ewww...

However, give Italian any day of the week!!

Z said...

Leticia, when I had that first bowl of fettucini in white truffle oil with shaved white truffles on it, I took a bite and literally got tears in my eyes. I distinctly remember saying to Mr Z "You don't swallow this, you bronze it".

the MOST delicious flavor in life.

heidianne jackson said...

sounds delicious - the broth that is - but once it's been cooking the shark fin, i don't think i could eat it.

someone once told me never to go to the orient. she said that they don't really know what to do with "round-eyes" and so they ply you with seafood and mushrooms. that SO would not work for me...

and for the record, z, i'd participate in a foodie site...

Elmers Brother said...

go to Rome? the Mrs. and I plan to next year...Lord willing

Elmers Brother said...

oh yeah...foodie site sounds good

FrogBurger said...

The burger looks soooooo gooooood. I need to stop at Golden State on Fairfax. Delicious burgers, fries and gelati!

Martha said...

Have you tried "Ceviche de Criadilla'? When I was "younger" my uncle tried to get me to eat it and there is no way I would eat raw meat with fresh salsa!

I agree with Leticia, there's no way I'd eat that either. I'd try the fettucini in white truffle oil with shaved white truffles but never, ever shark soup or anything shark!

Z said...

Elbro...are you up to MAC AND GEEEZ?

I LOVe that name and I LOVE TALKING FOOD! Let's DO IT, Blog partner! (in other words, YOU do the work, I have the for MEEEE!)

Oh, I wish Mr. Z could see it...Not having his Christmas goose and stuffing this year is going to be tough.

I'm still debating a Christmas Tree (so to speak...)

Anonymous said...

I discovered Thai food in New York about 35 years ago, loved it, then lost touch with it for a long while.

Two great restaurants where I live now brought me back into the fold.

I eat at these places as often as I can. Sadly, the Italian restaurants here are humdrum at best.

Fine French cuisine seems to have lost favor too in latter years. I suppose Mayor Bloomberg and his Food Police put such restrictions on the great restaurants they all either lost their true identity or went out of business? Who knows?

At any rate, in my [admittedly limited] experience, the flavor in seafood broth of all kinds comes from many things you would not want to eat directly -- lobster, crab and shrimp shells for instance.

I'll flatly state I make a great shrimp, crab or lobster bisque (any one, any two or all three). It's quite a process, but worth the time and effort, unless you dislike shellfish.

Thank Heaven you can make shellfish stock in advance and freeze it for several months. I try to keep six quart jars filled 80% (no more!) in my freezer at all times.

It's not only a base for bisque, it also works for Bouillabaisse, and made extra-thick a great sauce for baked flounder, sole or other white fish.

At any rate, I imagine the shark fin, itself, is the source of the unique, heavenly flavor, but probably should have been strained out -- as I remove shrimp and lobster shells -- after all the good has been simmered into the broth.

Food talk makes a pleasant change from politics, doesn't it? Trouble is the Ninnycrat Wrist Slappers HERE will put us all on rations of grass and dungbeetles if we don't find a way to put a stop to their maniacal antics.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time -- in New York City when the world and I were young and beautiful -- you could order Steak Tartare made with finely minced raw onion, a raw egg and capers at Hamburger Heaven -- and early chain of restaurants peculiar, I think, to Manhattan.

It was dee-LISH-us!

Always a great rush to get in there at lunch time! It was the neatest place! Very classy but totally unpretentious.

Nothing like it now.


As far as I know, no one EVER died from eating raw hamburger in those wonderful days gone by.

NOW, the Government-Media Socialist Propaganda Machine works night and day to keep us all shaking in our shoes.

Maybe I should write a book called The Society that Scared Itself to Death?


~ FreeThinke

sue said...

Z - Good story about the shark fin soup.

We don't have sharks here in Central Illinois.

Anonymous said...

Oh you do have sharks all over Illinois, Sue, but they call them "politicians" there. ;-)

Fortunately, most of them congregate in and around Chicago, but their influence is felt everywhere. It's even reached the White House.

Unfortunately no place on earth is free of sharks.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Sue!

~ FreeThinke

sue said...

FT - That's a good one. I wish I had thought of it myself!

Z said...

FT...I'm definitely planning on a new food blog..I hope you contribute.

Sue, EVERY state has its politician sharks! Sadly, there are no endangered species on that, right?

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your family this last weekend.

Elmers Brother said...

I LOVe that name and I LOVE TALKING FOOD! Let's DO IT, Blog partner! (in other words, YOU do the work, I have the for MEEEE!)

as long as you can wait another week or so...while I finish up these two courses I'm taking...

I'm up for it.

Anonymous said...

Z, you KNOW I will contribute to your food blog. We've had great times sharing menus and recipes for years.

Mac 'n Geez would be a great name for it, but I offer "Zee-lish-us!" or even "Zelicious" as an alternative.

I couldn't resist the little dig about political sharks. I'm glad you approve, but I hope Sue doesn't think I was being mean.

Merry Christmas!

~ FreeThinke

Z said... can definitely wait until you have NOTHING else to do and decide to say "let's go!" NO WORRIES:-)'ll be Mac n'GeeeZ or something like that because I LOVE MAC AND CHEESE.! Glad you'll contribute

Anonymous said...

WHOOPS! I see now that Sue did NOT think I was being mean.

Thank you, Sue. You're a good sport.

Z, whatever you decide to call it, I'll be there. Food talk is fun and very relaxing.

Great idea!

~ FreeThinke

WomanHonorThyself said...

wow big bucks for soup girl!!!

sue said...

Z - I had a great time.

It is true that every state has its political sharks, but no other state has ex-Gov. Blagojevich.

cube said...

Mr. Cube is a mutt... Lebanese heritage on his father's side and Armenian on his mother's. What a mix, huh?

I learned from the grandmother on the Lebanese side. His mom would know your term.

A food blog sounds like a plan, if you have the time.

Anonymous said...

On my first business trip to Hong Kong I knew I would be taken to dinner. I made myself a promise that I would eat anything put in front of me. Everything was wonderful until the Peking Duck skin came, served with little pancakes, hoisin sauce, & green onions. The skin wasn't the problem, but the fat under the skin was. I HATE FAT ON ANY MEAT!!! Well, I remembered my vow. I think I used up all the hoisin sauce on the table, but I ate one portion. I've had shark's fin soup, love raw beef, as well as raw kibbee, sashimi, but never again uni, ever again. I've eaten all the organ meats but brains, haven't had the opportunity.

On the Needle Arts Board on eBay there is a recipe thread. Some good cooks there. I make a homemade olive spread that puts New Orleans in the shade!


Anonymous said...

Hate to be a downer, but...

I learned from a shark expert, who was talking about the great white
shark, recently spotted off the coast in Pacific Palisades....about shark fin soup.

The sharks are caught, and while
still alive, their fins are cut off.

Then the fish is thrown back into
the sea to drown, since they cannot
swim without fins, and they must
move water through their gils in
order to breathe.

There is a world wide effort to stop the cutting of fins for soup.

Without sharks to clean up our oceans, I learned, there would be untold amounts of dead fish floating everywhere.

Better to have pasta in Rome


Z said... 'downer' at all. I tell you it's miserable to eat, so why SHOULD these sharks suffer and then hurt our ecosystem?

i'm for letting them go....with their fins on!

But, if they were white truffles, I'd be singing quite a different song :-)

Anonymous said...

Someone will have to sic PETA on the Japanese. };-)>

They got Britain to outlaw FOX-HUNTING you know.

Amazing what a vociferous, determined pressure group can do to upend an Establishment.

Maybe WE should use similar tactics ourselves?

"Nice guys finish last."

Of course it says in the Bible that "the last shall be first and the first shall be last," so maybe we ought just to leave well enough alone?

~ FreeThinke