Shark conservationists have thrown a challenge to hotels to whip up an alternative to shark fin soup and the chefs are rolling up their sleeves!
At least 10 chefs from major hotels in the city are expected to take part in the "Imperial Gourmet Soup Challenge" organised by the Tanjung Aru Junior Chamber International (JCI) on May 6.
JCI Tanjung Aru chairman Aderick Chong said the aim of the challenge at Surya Sabah Mall here was to create more gourmet soups for banquets.
"We hope shark fin soup will eventually be forgotten,'' said Chong, whose JCI is among several NGOs working with the state government to put an end to shark hunting and finning in Sabah.
Chong said sharks' fins were tasteless and contained methyl-mercury.
"At the moment, we have fish maw soup and chicken in wintermelon as the common replacements for shark fin soup. We hope more soup choices will be created and are just as prestigious,'' he added.
The guidelines for the contest state that the soups must be shark and shark fin free and the chefs must use environmentally sustainable ingredients.
"Participants will be encouraged to refer to the Malaysia Sustainable Seafood Guide provided by WWF and Malaysian Nature Society.
"Our judges will only have the name of the soup and its ingredients for judging. The chefs will remain anonymous," he said, adding that the identities of the chefs and their hotels would be revealed after winners were selected.
Chong said the Shangri-la group of hotels and the Sutera Harbour resort had removed shark fin soup from their menus.