Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A non-fan of shark fin soup on why the ban still rubs her the wrong way

It's been more than a week since California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that prohibits the sale of shark fins, the primary ingredient in traditional Chinese shark fin soup. The soup is a luxury item, long considered a delicacy in China and among Chinese immigrants in the U.S.

Since talk of a ban began, it's been a divisive topic within the state's Chinese diaspora, even among children and grandchildren of immigrants. Some favor the ban because it protects sharks from being killed by "finning," while others insist the ban is discriminatory.

In an essay in the Alhambra Source, Lillian Li Ting Ma writes about her first taste of shark fin soup while in Shanghai with her father. She's not a fan of the soup, nor are many younger Chinese, she writes, but the ban still rubs some who don't care for shark fin soup the wrong way. From the piece:

...none of my friends are a fan of shark fin soup. "I will not order it on my own, if ever," several of them told me.

That said, for many of the young Chinese I know, even though they think eating shark fin is wrong, are skeptical of a statewide ban. "Individually choosing not to eat shark fin is one thing, but officially making a state wide ban is another," Kelly Wang, who is a friend and also a student from Shanghai, told me. She felt the bill could be an intrusion to one"s freedom. So does my 90-year-old grandma in Taiwan.

I too am suspicious about the necessity of having a legal ban, since California has already made many regulations addressing to the environmental and humane concerns of the practice.