Friday, October 07, 2005

Shark Fin Soup --- been there, done that.

Okay, what's the buzz about shark fin soup? We had it served to us at a traditional meal two nights ago -- when Grant (7) was sleeping on the floor in the corner of the private room within the larger facility. And again, last night, while the speakers for the event gathered (only Catherine and the two Pitt grad students went), the meal's six course was shark fin soup.

This is a traditional banquet food for special occasions in Hong Kong.

Some world-wide protests forced Disney to knock it off of its menus in Hong Kong. And that is a big deal as Disney has the resorts and tries to lure (pun intended) weddings to its banquet facilities.

Other larger, Hong Kong facilities have not backed down to the protesters and have kept the dish.

Once it came in the soup with small chunks. The other time it was in grinds. But the soup is much more than the shark fin. Pork and a chicken broth dominate the bowl.

What follows is from the Pgh Zoo and Aquarium site. They are getting set for RAD days and Zoo Boo.
Fish Flap Aired at Phipps

Eat fish, live longer? Maybe, but is your catch-of-the-day safe to eat? Is there enough of it swimming that it should be fished at all? How can consumers be sure which results of scientific studies are true and which are just plain fishy? And which fish get a clean bill of health?

As the world's shrinking and increasingly toxic seafood supply places many fish off-limits for responsible and safe eating, Slow Food Pittsburgh joins forces with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in an educational series. The message? Despite the scaremongers, fishmongers, and scary reports, many delicious and responsible options remain.

Series participants will learn as they eat. Each program offers information and guidelines along with an opportunity to sit down to a meal celebrating seafood choices that satisfy both appetite and conscience. The series opens Sunday, October 9 with a free-to-the-public panel discussion at 4 p.m. in Phipps' Outdoor Garden under tents. The debate will be followed by a seafood dinner at 6 p.m. in the same location.

The debate will mesh viewpoints of panel participants. Douglass Dick, owner and executive chef of Bona Terra restaurant in Sharpsburg will address the balancing act by chefs to make responsible seafood choices and satisfy a public that often unknowingly demands endangered fish. Seth Morrison, Seafood Team, Whole Foods Pittsburgh will discuss the pros and cons of farmed and wild-caught fish considered when buying for an eco-aware customer base. Sara Pozonsky, co-owner of her family-owned fishery will tell her insider's story of wild salmon fishing in Kenai, Alaska. David Mintz, Senior Education Specialist, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium will put global overfishing and threats to farmed and wild fish in perspective and explain the role of the consumer. The Zoo and Aquarium is an Associate Partner in Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, featuring regional Seafood Watch Guides that help consumers understand what fish to buy and why. Copies of the guide will be available at the program and Mintz's presentation will focus on helping consumers use the guide as an aid in wise shopping. Participants will also receive a wallet card guide detailing eco-best and eco-worst fish choices at the markets.

The buffet-style dinner menu of fresh, sustainably produced seafood will be prepared by Café Phipps and big Burrito chefs. It features a clam and oyster raw bar, steamed mussels, grilled Wild Alaskan Company Copper River salmon, smoked trout salad, herbed roasted potatoes, locally grown greens, and autumn apple desserts. Guests will sit together at long tables, Slow Food style. Dinner is $45 for Slow Food members and $55 for non-members. There is a cash bar featuring wine and beer.

Participants may opt for the lecture, dinner, or both. The lecture preceding dinner is free and open to the public, but reservations for dinner are a must. To reserve by credit card, call Karen Bracken at Phipps Garden Center at (412) 441-4442, ext. 3201. Reservations are limited.

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