Whether to serve Shark Fin????


New Member

I am considering not serving Shark Fin for my wedding banquet, would this upset my parents since this is a MUST in Chinese banquet



hmm... actually me considerin it oso but my hubby strongly protested against it. he said "sharks oso eat people" n he doesnt care if sharks become extinct
. so i guess i cant do anything abt it. frankly speakin, i wouldnt mind attendin a weddin dinner without the sharks fin. as for the older folks, ive no idea cos never ask my parents abt it.


New Member
every marine creature has a part to play in the marine ecosystem...hence maintaining the state of equilibrium.

if a certain species (i.e. sharks) is being overhunted and hence resulting in extinction...all the other marine creatures up/down the food chain will be affected. Human, @ the end of the food chain...will also suffer repercussion effect...

i'm not advocating that we shld not eat any form of marine creatures...but we should harvest them @ a sustainable rate which allows for reproduction!
the same for trees...if they are, on their own, renewable resources and shld last forever...why shld human, just for short term gains (greed), create a situation whereby regeneration is no longer possible?

sorrie...i feel quite strongly abt such issues...don't mean to offend!


New Member
just to share a story...

a couple of weeks ago...attended my friend's wedding (where sharkfins were served)...

5 of us were drinking wines/beer...the other 5 on the table, for health reasons (b'cos of their profession!), refused to touch a single drop of wine/liqour/beer...and they were giving us the "these-pathetic-&-stupid-alcoholics-are-going-to-die-of-liver-malfunction" look!

anyway...when the sharksfins were served...5 of us refused to touch it due to ethical reasons...whereas the other 5 were slurping down their sharksfins (as well as ours!) like it's the last edible thing on earth.

ok...what i'm trying to say is - these 5 pple are obviously so concerned of their own health/lives...but when it comes to others' lives (not to mention that of animals' or sharks'), they don't give a damn!! WHY? it's just plain selfishness!


hi, just came across this thread and i had this urge to say something. i attended a wedding banquet recently in which sharksfin was served. as usual we ate the sharksfin, though i do not really fancy it. there was this friend at the same table who did not touch it for ethical reason. personally, i tot she was quite insensitive because when she revealed her reason for not taking the sharksfin, she kinda made the rest of us feel very pai say, as if we were doing something INETHICAL !!!!!!! i did not really like this kind of feeling. so to people who do not eat sharkesfin for ethical reason, please do not tell this reason when someone asks you why you are not touching your bowl of sharksfin, just say that you do not like it and THAT IS IT !! please spare a thought for "INETHICAL" people like me.

p.s. well, i suppose ethical people are vegetarians right ?? or maybe not, because plants and fruits are grown to be eaten too. Scientific findings show that plants do respond when they are uprooted and killed. what's more, fruits are plucked from the fruit trees for eating pleasure while the trees are left to grow MORE fruits to be plucked. OPPS !!! HOW PAINFUL THE TREES CAN BE !!!!


New Member
if you feel that there's really nothing wrong with eating sharksfin...why should you even feel pai seh???

true that fruits are plucked from the trees...do you chop down a tree for its fruits? isn't that what we are doing to the sharks?

i won't want to debate on how painful the process of fruit plucking can be to the tree - it's too painful to write anything so childish just to spite.

well...you've your freedom to eat watever you want...just like others have the freedom to not eat or say why they are not eating...if your conscience is clear...why bother? Period.

just a comment


Just thought of sharing my thoughts with you as an 'outsider' point of view since i've not experienced someone telling me why they are not eating sharks fins or not at wedding banquets.

no offense here and don't mean to criticise anyone.

KPO, i feel maybe sometimes the way you write or come across as may sound a little 'offensive' or direct cos diff people have diff opinions so we must accomodate differences lor .. i mean the last statement is like labeling people who eats sharks fin as plain selfish but of course there are many out there who loves this delicacyand this felt strongly about it also. but then again, everyone has a right to voice their opinion here so just do it in a more neutral tone lor .. one message can be interpreted differently by 100 different people differently when they read it .

DL, i dun think there's anything wrong when someone replies saying the reason why they don't wanna eat sharks fin. at least they only answer when asked and not tell everyone at the table why they are not eating.


New Member
Hi all,

Cool down gals

We r juz sharing our opinions and feelings here. Let's not start a debate war here. Relax...


New Member

i agree my words were too strong (not that they are untrue though!)...don't mean to offend...i apologise for not mincing my words!

i won't start a war here...no worries


Staff member
Hi Noel,

You really need to check with your parents and in-laws if they mind not having sharksfin served. Some of the elders feel that sharksfin is a must-have in wedding dinner. However, let them know and understand the reasons why you choose not to have the dish served. Make suggestions to replace the sharksfin with alternative dish.

If your parents and in-laws don't feel comfortable with the idea, don't argue over it. Wedding should be a happy occasion.

Chin Leng.


New Member
hey, happy to read that Zoe Tay has decided to drop the shark's fin dish to save the sharks...hope that many more others will follow suit!!!



I guess many of the "old folks" still prefer to have the shark fins.

I discussed tis b4 with my FH to do away with the shark fins as it'll be so cruel to kill. Then, his mum over heard & insisted that we can change anything but not the shark fins!!

So sad!! My FH actually agreed with his mum & said that if this is cruelty then let's not eat anything. Cos we also kill chicken, pig, duck & even vegie is a life so not eat anything loh...

I was so mad with him & refuse to talk to him for a week. I didn't know that I have such a cruel FH but no choice I chose him & love him... So I give in loh.

I would "dey..." when I can't get things I want & did the Chinese saying: 1 cry, 2 argue, 3 suicede thing but not for this time. It's doesn't work!!

**Sign Sign*!! Man (I meant my FH) = Stubborn!!



Agree with u that most old folks think that it's a must to have it. Cos this are one of the dishes that symbolises wealth. As for my case, although it's very cruel but then... both my FH and me love shark's fin soup very much. Yummy! (Oops can hear Reebok screaming!
) Catch u later!



would just like to add on with some info i found on the web abt symbolism of common weddin dishes:

Chinese food has special symbolism: mostly wishes of happiness, longevity, or fertility. The number of courses is also significant. At a Chinese wedding banquet, eight dishes are usually served - not including the dessert. In Chinese, the word "eight" sounds like "good luck". (The words for "nine" and "long" are also homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings. At a birthday banquet, nine dishes are served with noodles at the end.)

Nowadays, a wedding banquet starts with appetizers such as "dragon-phoenix" plates or cold plates which consist of various sliced meats, jellyfish, and various types of nuts shaped like dragons and phoenixes and served chilled. (Lobster in Chinese is literally "dragon shrimp" and in Chinese restaurants, chicken feet are referred to as "phoenix feet"). In a marriage, the dragon symbolizes the male role while the phoenix symbolizes the female role. (See Chinese Wedding Traditions for additional use of the Dragon and Phoenix symbolism.) This yin-yang dualism, opposite but not contradictory, is a key concept of taoism according to Professor George Lee of San Francisco State University. He and others believe that taoism and the yin-yang dualism prevades Chinese philosophy. Lee wrote that according to the Black Sect Tantric Buddhism, "man and woman form a family - the tao of marriage." Therefore, having lobster and chicken at the dinner would represent balance in the new relationhip.

Shark's Fin Soup. Soup usually follows the appetizers. The type of soup has some significance, for example, shark's fin soup indicates wealth because this delicacy is very expensive.

Roast Suckling Pig. Roasted pork is a symbol of virginity. (The groom presents a whole roasted pork to the bride's family at the engagement party.)

Peking Duck and Lobster. Red is the color for happiness, so serving Peking duck and lobster would signify joy and celebration. Also, serving the dish whole, i.e. with the head and legs, would symbolize completeness.

Squab (or Other Fowl). According to Shu Shu Costa, the author of Wild Geese and Tea, pigeon has tender meat that symbolizes peace. Usually two pigeons are offered to wish the newlyweds peace as they start their new life together. Squab (pigeon) is similar to quail, so they both probably symbolize peace. Quail is offered whole to each guest so each and every one will also experience a peaceful life. Serving fried chicken would wish the couple to have a good life because in Chinese "red chicken" sounds like "good life."

Vegetables with Sea Cucumber. Serving sea cucumber with vegetables is a sign of selflessness because "sea cucumber" sounds like "good heart" and this dish wishes the couple to think in a similar way - to avoid conflict.

Fish. Serving fish would hope that the couple will experience a life together with abundance because "fish" sounds like "plentiful" in Chinese.

Noodles served at the end would symbolize longevity because noodles come in long strands.

Sweet Red Bean Soup and Sweet Buns. Serving dessert probably wishes the newlyweds a sweet life. The hot sweet red bean soup should contain lotus seeds (lian zi) and a bark-like vegetable (bak hop) to wish the newlyweds a hundred years of togetherness. The sweet lotus paste in sweetened steamed bread symbolizes fertility; it is shaped and colored to resemble peaches (ta zi), since the peach represents long life. The sticky dumpling, covered with crushed peanuts with black sesame paste in the center, is called mochi. (You might consider mochi with lotus paste or red bean paste for their symbolic value rather than black sesame paste.)

At the end of the banquet, waiters usually pass out take-out boxes to the guests because there is usually enough food for everyone and some left over; this represents abundance. It is acceptable to take some of the food home because it is not good to waste good food - or anything else for that matter.

Tea, alcohol, and 7-Up are almost always supplied at a Chinese wedding banquet. Offering tea is a sign of respect. Alcohol is served to celebrate the special occasion. (In Chinese, "going to a dinner banquet" is synonymous to "going to drink alcohol;" and in Cantonese, "to go drinking" literally means "go to a bar.") And 7-Up sounds like "seven happiness,", since the words for "up" and "happiness" are homophones.)


New Member
Hi Reebok, the next time you mentioned to your FH or your MIL, plse remember there is a difference between killing an animal and killing an animal in an inhumane manner. I am not against killing animals for food, but the manner in which sharks fins are obtained is nothing short of cruel.

Can you imagine the day when capital punishment involve putting needles into the eyes (ala the movie Audition) or pulling all your fingernails and toe nails out? it is one thing is to kill, it is another thng to torture.

I applaud Zoe Tay and all other people who chose not to serve sharks fins at wedding dinner; but we cannot chide others who are 'forced' by tradition to serve them. At least they tried to dissuade their elders.


New Member
I find something very ironical. Sharksfin is supposed to be the DELICACY, BUT, do you think those served in restaurants are? To me, there are nothing more than starch and few miserable strands of "sharksfin". If sharksfin is to show people our wealth, I really do not think much of THIS quality of "sharksfin". If such is the case, is there still a need for sharksfin in the first place since the objective is not really served.


I personally feel that there is nothing wrong with eating sharksfin. If we have to worry about everything in the world, then there's no joy living in this world. There's just so much injustice in this world that you can't protect everything just by not serving it. Other people will still eat it. All i think is that, if you feel strongly against eating sharks fin, then refrain from it. But the others should still be given the liberty to enjoy the delicacy, which has been passed down for many generations - sharksfin is still a very necessary dish to serve during a chinese wedding dinner. Just my thoughts...no offence, pls.


New Member
Agree with chupachup about the injustice part. One can only do one's part and satisfy your own calling. There is nothing wrong if you think otherwise. Serve sharksfin at your dinner - no one will say negative things about it; if they do, then it is imposing one's views on another which is wrong.

Offence? None taken - not at all. Everyone's entitled to their own views.


New Member
If sharks fin = wealth, then actually there are many things that are Expensive to eat too.
How bout suggest to ur in laws to serve Braised Abalone instead? Or some form of Buddha Jump over the wall minus shark's fin?


Can i find out whether couples now chose not to have shark's fin soup and have other types of
soup? I am thinking of Lobster Soup or Tom Yam Soup or other types of soup.

I know it sounds crazy but my expat boss had told me straight in the face not to serve shark's fin soup and even go on a long lecture on this topic.

Would appreciate any comments. Thanks,


New Member
Hi. Hubby tried 'sounding' his side of family abt not serving shark's fins and as predicted, we got a 'soft' lecture from them. But what the sis said was quite true. For the big day, dun try anything special. You can choose not to eat but there are people who look forward to it. And his mum goes:"HAR???!!!"

It is true that many elders do consider the fins as a symbol of wealth and it is only during special occasion that one gets to eat a bowl. Not all of us have parents and relatives who are more westernised to accept these 'changes'. So I guess it all boils down to family's acceptance and reaction.


New Member

Is it your wedding or your boss'??? He can say what he wants but in the end he's just your boss, absolutely no say in your wedding!Zilch!

Do what you and your fiance want ok?


New Member
I have decided not to have shark fin in my weddin banquet only one reason cos my family n i believe to avoid killin during celebrations
actually i thot of having all vegetarian banquet
but my bf not agreeable cos he's not vegetarian, and he says some non-vegetarians guest may not turn up
so in the end i persuade him to take out sharkfin in our menu...however i have one problem i am not sure which dish to replace my sharkfin soup of cos the hotel or restaurant is happi i take out this dish cos they will replace me something much cheaper which i of cos dun want to lugi so any suggestions on what thing i can replace this dish w but of similar value??


Hi Viv,

My fiance is okay with not serving sharkfin's soup, we are thinking of lobster soup. But still, we have yet to check with our parents.

My expat boss had explained to me about the reducing number of sharks in the sea and Chinese Weddings had the largest comsumption on its fins etc. and hence, got this message.

As like "knowing", I am also curious of whether we can get this dish replaced. Or eventually, Not. Any brides had any ideas??


New Member
I also think that it is about time to change the habit of serving sharksfin soup for weddings.
What disturbs me most is that the sharks are thrown back after having their fins chopped off and are left to die a slow and cruel death. No tradition on earth can justify this! Sorry, but I agree totally with KPO and Liz.

Of course it's better not to kill at all, but I know that this is difficult... that would also mean no leather shoes... but at least for beef, pork, chicken etc. the whole animal is used, not just its tail while the rest is wasted.

Saying that 'other people will still eat it so why bother' is so sad... if everybody uses this excuse nothing will ever change! There are so many delicious dishes that can be served instead.
Just my two cents' worth...


New Member
I agreed with Emilia too. I wouldn't be serving sharks fin for my wedding dinner. Instead I asked for Abalone.
One more thing to consider,whether you serve sharksfin or not people will still complain. Like..eeee y so watery..or yucks, so less, or even..aiyoh,,,donno genuine or not?
Remember one thing, you had already source for the best for your family and guest..you desrve to make some decision for your self.
Sorry that I just chuck in out of no where..I was just trying to see what tips can I gain from all these conversation..


New Member
Hi Rascal,

I feel relieved to see your message! Is Abalone your second dish? And what type of Abalone are you serving? Thanks,


New Member
Hi Noel,

I didn't have shark's fin at my wedding dinner. One of our parents wasn't very happy about it, but we insisted, and the place where we had our dinner provided an excellent substitute, it was also a soup, but with '8 treasures' or something like that, it had abalone, scallops... I can't remember what else, but it was really yummy!!

See what your wedding banquet place can offer you instead of sharks fin and then see if your parents are ok with that...


My weddding is in Feb 2002. We will not serve sharksfin soup. Instead, it'd be fish maw soup which the restaurant claims is their specialty (one of the Tung Lok restaurants).

Both my hubby and I scuba dive. We hope to hve shark encounters for many years to come. Yes, shark-killing is cruel, so is killing in general. However consuming sharkfin threatens extinction because the sharks are hunted rather than bred. Until somebody starts a shark-farm, we'll just hve to do our bit to save this marine creature.


hm..... might as well go for vegetarian food. Then will save all marine creatures.


Hee, I escaped this dilemma by hosting a dinner buffet instead. I dun fancy sharks fin (doesn't have much taste anyway) and after watching National Geographic, lost all appetite for the dish. I think its sad that some posters tell those who are against eating sharks fin to keep such views to themselves. Also the attitude "I am but just one person...what diff can I make anyway" is pretty sad. If everyone thinks like that, then for sure nothing can be done. No wonder the earth's environment is really going down the drain (I for one am guilty abt being too lazy to recycle, even tho I know I should!!)

I guess its hard to change people's mindsets, esp if its something they love or enjoy. It will take time and education. Maybe in the years down the road, during our childrens' generation, things will change for the better. But please, do not berate us simply becoz we want to try to do something for the environment, no matter how small the gesture can be. In return, we will not try to be too fanatical abt putting our views across :p Education, not criticism should be the way to go.


New Member
Talking about education - if you don't plan to serve sharks fins soup at your wedding dinner but worry about what the elder relatives think... why not ask your MC to deliver a short speech on why you're not having sharks fin? This will serve to
educate the uninformed while allowing you to fulfil your goal!

Besides, I'm sure the hotel/restaurant can come up with an alternative soup that can be as good (if not better) than sharks fin!



i am planning to do away with sharks fin for my wedding too. My fiance is very supportive of that. In turn, we are going to have sea cucumber and duck broth. Relatives are entittled to their own opinion. What matters most is what you believe because ultimately, it is YOUR big day, not anybody else's.


New Member
Hi tube,

Hee..glad to know u wun be serving sharks' fin soup for ure wedding. Anyway, nowadays the quality of the sharks fin soup is nothing fantastic. Usually v starchy n only miserable slivers of the fin unless u choose a more expensive menu. People will still comment that the soup's not nice..yadah yadah yadah. So might as well stick to your beliefs and do what makes u happy.



Read the above comments...hmm...i may also want to drop the idea of serving sharksfin soup in banquet. But I want to know wat's the alternative food to replace shark's fin soup? I saw the above suggestions like:-

1) lobster soup (nvr tried b4, is it nice? western or chinese?)
2) fish maw soup (nvr tried tat also?)

3) Buddha jumps over the wall (is the price same as sharksfin?)

I need more suggestions...anyone attended sharksfin-free wedding banquet?? Wat did they serve? I'm also concerned whether will my hotel chef can maintain the standard if we wants other soup? I mean sharksfin soup to them is too easy to cook liao. Wat do u think ah???


New Member
Hi wannanoe,

Fish maw soup is nice! Think its quite a traditional chinese soup too? What abt crab-meat soup (tastes like shark's fin soup but without the sharks fin)? Or something different like spicy szechuan soup? I'm sure the chefs know how to cook other types of soup since restaurants don't just serve one type of soup dish. Quality wise, even if they cook shark's fin, its not necessary tt it'll taste nice. UNless ure really going for the 'hao liao' (which is very expensive), it'll probably be the starchy tasteless kind, rather than those in clear broth.


New Member
hi, my wedding dinner will not be serving any sharkfins too coz' my FH objected it. We replaced in a vegetarian dish created by the famouse chef and it is more healthy.
The restaurant even gave 5% discount on the total cost for not having sharpfin as one of the dishes as sharpfin is really expensive nowsdays.


New Member
Hi, i'll be holding my banquet at Merchant Court. By excluding the sharkfin soup, I've successfully got these in return :-
1) abalone add on to my vege dish
2) 60 glasses of beer
3) 2nd night stay at normal room
4) free seat covers for 38 tables
5) changed cake to chocolate
6) 8 corsages


New Member
Hi Elmo, it's a surprise that your hotel allows you not just to change menu but even offer things for exchange!
You muz be very good at bargaining!

I signed with PanPac & mentioned tt I wanted to change sharksfin for abalone. They refused and said soup can be changed into some other soup, no reduction in px. Abalone can be added as another dish, for $50+++ per table.

Mebbe when I arrange for food-tasting then I try to bargain again. See if can add abalone into vegetable dish or not.


New Member
I thot PanPac is famous in gd customer service? Anyway I told the sales manager I dun want the soup not becoz of money but to save sharks. He did suggest to us to replace it with another type of soup. We rejected the idea becoz any "cheaper" soup will mislead my guests that we are trying to save money. So we finally decided to exchange for abalone instead. The agreement was done before we sign up with the hotel, think after you paid ur deposit, they are quite rigid to changes.


New Member
Hi elmo,
I think that's where I made the mistake. It was oni after signing that I put up the request.
Anyway, my co-ordinator has since changed portfolio and is no longer in banquet sales. Will try my luck with the new co-ordinator.
I agree with you on the part of guests being misled. I casually asked around and quite a few felt that if sharksfin was not served, they would feel abit "short-changed" in a certain sense.


New Member

I've ever heard that sharkfins can be replaced with vermicelli (or similar). In this way, sharksfin can be served and yet we are not being cruel to sharks. Sharksfins are tasteless anyway. What do u all think? Any comments?


Based on the following facts, I hope that the brides and grooms out there will not serve Sharks Fins during their wedding banquets:

1. Cruelty
In the Philippines, sharks are caught, forced fed poision and then released back into the ocean to suffer a long and painful death. When they die, they will be fished out and their fins will be removed. This is to protect the fishermen. They are then thrown back into the ocean.
Farmers not armed with these modern aids battle sharks for their livelihoods and many lost their limbs and end up drying the sharks fins in the sun. (From 'shocking Asia')

2. Moral issue
Religion aside, it makes little sense to celebrate by killing beings. Since that cannot be totally avoided, please go for less meat and more vegatables...and not sharks fins... Most sharks are flinged back into the ocean after their fins are removed. Losing their ability to steer in the water, they die. This is very inhumane.
The fishermen hunting them put their lives in danger mainly out of poverty. The buyers and consumers are ultimately to blame.

3. Substitutes available
In Hyatt where i will be holding my wedding, i am given alternatives-
-double boiled fish maw soup with black chicken and ginseng
-double boiled fish maw soup with quail and flower mushroom
-hot and sour szechuan with smoked duck and scallops
-shredded seafood thick soup with conpoy and enoki mushrooms
I am sure all hotels and reputated restaurants are able to churn out alternatives.

It makes little sense to kill something for a part of it and leave the rest of it to die.

there is a popular saying that Chinese eats anything that moves... i can only say that though i am not a vegan, i am not one of these chinese.
I am also not attributing value to one animal over the other, but rather to encourage pple to eat less meat, esp during wedding dinners when so many animals will be
slaughtered.. just rest your mind on that.


When enough of us stop serving sharks fins for our wedding dinners, it will become a trend and that is all that i hope for...


for more info,
can do search on sharks fin or


New Member
hi Jo, i oso support not having sharks fins for wedding dinner. for one, i know of the cruelty, for the second, i dun really like sharks fins myself coz most are with starch.

I support the notion! hehhehe.....


New Member
i know it's cruel, but i love sharksfins!
anyway ur alternatives also involve killing other animals leh!
so if wanna be wei da, then gotta 100% vegetarian lor!


New Member
hi Jo,
my colleague din wanna sha sheng for his wedding banquet,, so he had a vegetarian banquet... however, since practically every dish is fried, most of us developed a sore throat the next day..


New Member
I am also totally against eating shark's fins...its not only cruelty that is involved, if u look at the bigger picture, killig sharks will adversely affect our marine/ecological system and ultimately, it will be humans that will suffer.

Personally, I feel that shark fin's is smth we can do without. It is not like we cannot survive without it. I mean we eat meat to get proteins, but what do we need shark fins for? If we kill the sharks to get its meat then it will seem less frivolous and wasteful. And also the shark will not suffer as much too. Therefore i do not agree wif passerby's statement.

Besides, shark fins in itself is pretty tasteless. Its nice becoz u eat it wif a nice broth. I belief if u substitute shark fins wif other things and cook it in same way, it will also taste good.



Thank you for all your comments. Perhaps we can get committments to NOT serve sharks fins during our own weddings?

Personally I like steamed fish and will not advocate something I cannot do myself. Sharks are getting extinct and eating sharks fins is alike killing elephants for their ivories and leave them bleeding to death.

(And being vegetarian Singapore style is actually not healthy cos the vegetarian stores tend to serve mainly carbo and glutens. The good vegans diet should be vegetables (for vitamins), nuts and soy products (for protein).) I LOVE SOY PRODUCTS and I read that soy protein gives you more complete amino acids, thus healthier than animals which are fed animal feeds and injected with growth hormones to harvest more meat. Plus, eating more plant protein and cutting down on carbo laden breakfast like nasi lemak, fried mee hoon not only gives you more energy throughout the day but also gives you a trimmer figure! (I like the new store near the Fengshan market which also serves soy (substitute egg) tarts...yummy)