Tucked away on a glossy menu in the Herbal Cafe, a Beijing restaurant known for its herbal teas and low-fat Cantonese dishes, is a little nod to environmental advocacy. For about USD 2.50, customers can buy a bowl of imitation shark fin soup made of vegetable stock and potato noodles.??
“If it was real, then you’d have to kill sharks,” said Zhang Gui, the manager. “Sharks are very precious animals.”
??Demand for shark fin soup, once a dish for Ming Dynasty emperors, has skyrocketed in the last several decades as more people can afford to serve it at business banquets and wedding feasts, thanks to the growth of China’s middle class.??
But within the last few months, a strong push by international groups, with the help of a little star power, has made refusing to eat the dish a popular environmental statement akin to shunning furs or driving a Prius.??