The Art of Eating Sharks Fin

A couple on months a ago, I entered a online contest on Facebook organised by the hotel group Accor, which manages the Novotel, Mecure and Pullman chains of hotels. I guessed a famous landmark. I think it was the Taj Mahal, if I am not mistaken. And I won a S$190 (US$150) food voucher at the Grand Mecure Roxy in Singapore. Now thewinning came with a strange condition – that when I spend the voucher it is limited to only TWO diners.

How could two persons finish so much food. After a discussion with the hotel, they agreed that I could use the voucher with up to 4 diners. Even then S$190 is still a lot of money for 4 people, given that we typically not exceed S$40 per person when we dine out.

Anyway, we finally decided to use the voucher two days back at the hotel’s well known Jia Wei restaurant. We have dined there a couple of times, but most times it is for dim sum. This time we to order much more or at least from the more expensive selection. We ended up ordering a set for 4 people. I think it was the cheapest set… at S$198 before taxes and service charge.

Now the set came with the ever so controversial sharks fin soup. It came, I ate it, but I did not find it fantastic. Here is what I observed through the years of eating sharks fin – the more expensive the dish, the more I don’t like that dish.  I have a theory or rather an observation about sharks fins.

The more expensive the dish, the better quality of the sharks fin. Now for the restaurant, if they have use high quality sharks fin, they want to show the quality and will not cook it in the way that most of us recognise it as part of a Chinese wedding dinner. That style of cooking sharks fin is reserved for cheap inferior sharks fin – a starchy, gooey, soup that requires vinegar to flavour the dish. When you eat that, you hardly see the traces of the sharks fin.

But that is the way I like it! I remember when I was serving my National Service, the food is generally horrible, but there was a dish that we always looked forward to – Sharks Fin Soup. Ok, there is no sharks fin in it. Its just a starchy gooey soup with egg. But it taste almost like the real stuff… or we were that deprived. So it’s not the fin that I like, bt that type of soup.

Now for restaurants like Jia Wei to showcase their quality stuff, the soup tends to be clear and you can very clearly see the chunky fin, but it is not done in the style that I like. So do we really need to keep eating sharks fin? I am not very sure.

Now, recently in Singapore a major controvesy blew up on social media, when an employee of a sharks fin supply posted “Screw the Divers”on  LinkedIn when turned into a major nightmare for the company. It resulted in the employee being fired. The company losing big business during the peak season. And supermarkets making a decision not to carry sharks fin in the store.

The employee understood one thing – tha a controversial statement caused a reaction and social media is all about getting reactions. Why bother to do social media when no one responds. Now if you have been attracted to rea this article because it has a controvesial headline, I have successfully draw a reaction.

But the employee must have thought to himself that Äll news is good news”. Well that statement has neverbeen true in public relations and it definitely is not true in social media.

Oh, by the way, we ended up paying an additional S$70 plus for the meal at Jia Wei after adding an additional dish and taxes and service charge. Thank you Accor, Grand Mecure Roxy and Jia Wei for the dinner.



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