Chin-Ind Soups

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No Jaws needed

When I was in elementary school, a friend of mine asked me about shark fin soup. Her father often ordered it when she and her family bought Chinese-Indonesian takeaway. She was curious about the soup; did it truly contain shark fins? At the time I was still young and did not know much about the dish, but it led me to wonder: what is shark fin soup made of? Well, originally the soup contained shark fins, but the version in your Chin-Ind restaurant does not.

In Hong Kong during the 1950s and 1960s, street vendors started to sell a substitute for shark fin soup:imitation shark fin soup 碗仔翅, which was a more affordable alternative to the expensive shark fin soup. See on CNN They were far ahead of their time, but their concern was not with the ethical aspects of shark fin soup, but rather with the financial.

There are various shark fin substitutes for this imitation shark fin soup , and all these substitutes create a rather similar gelatinous texture, for example, konjac gel, (cellophane) noodles, etc. This kind of inexpensive substitute became very popular among people who could not afford the authentic soup.

The shark fin soup known in Chinese-Indonesian restaurants in the Netherlands is also a variant of the cheaper imitation shark fin soup. This thickened soup is often made by adding potato starch and egg white strings to a (chicken) broth and and often garnished with spring onions, ham or imitation crab meat.

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