Contest #1 - Once Upon a Chinatown Restaurant

The royalty of high Chinese cuisine.
In light of the feedback we've gotten, we've decided to suspend the contest. More information can be found here.


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Shark fins? You're kidding right??

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No we are not - Empress Pavilion is well know for it - although the cultural practice may offend some.

In an interview with the late Irvin Lai (which you can find here) we discussed how cultural practices, food, health and environmental regulations have been a point of debate for Chinese Americans...

What do you think?

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SHAME ON YOU!
"Whatever befalls the Earth - befalls the sons of the Earth.
Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

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"although the cultural practice may offend some"

No, what offends me is the horrific and barbaric way these sharks are treated. There is nothing cultural about it, and I sincerely hope you are not endorsing this practice.

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Is it just me, or does the link above not let you submit a story?

I've e-mailed instead.

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I am wondering what went wrong Machiko - our apologies. What happened exactly? We will look into the problem and your e-mail! Thanks so much

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What do I think? I do find it offensive. I find it offensive that shark fin soup is being publicized on KCET as something acceptable in California. At least 70 millions sharks are killed every year - work that out, it's 3 every second. Populations are down by about 90% worldwide. You guys should really do a little research about what is going on in the oceans and the huge impact that the demand for shark fin soup has had before you going giving credibility to shark fin soup and rhose who serve it.
Boycott any restaurant that serves shark fin soup:
http://stopsharkfinning.net/boycott.htm

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Reasons shark fin soup is detrimental to the Earth
1) Over 90% of the world's shark populations have been killed. For what? Mostly SHARK FIN SOUP
2)sharks keep the fish population that eat most of the plankton down to minimum. Without this creature too many fish would live in the ocean depleting the plankton too rapidly until there was no more plankton, just a bunch of starving fishing, dying off. No plankton, no oxygen! No Earth!
3)Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins and the discard at sea of the carcass. The shark is most often still alive when it is tossed back into the water. Unable to swim, the shark slowly sinks toward the bottom where it is eaten alive by other fish.
4)Unsustainable fishery. The massive quantity of sharks harvested and lack of selection deplete shark populations faster than their reproductive abilities can replenish populations.
*SO YOU'RE SAYING THAT SHARK FINNING AND SELLING SHARK FIN SOUP IS OKAY?!
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”-Gandhi. This quote then speaks loads about the Type of people who support this barbaric act. You should be ashamed!


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I'm outraged that Departures would even run or support a contest like this. Makes me sick!

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I agree with the comments above, shark finning cannot be supported in any ways, it's brutal and disgusting. As it is with bullfights, cultural practice is NO excuse AT ALL for killing animals like that. Imagine your arms and legs being cut off and yourself being left behind on the street, bleeding, unable to move.. what else is there to say? Don't support this madness!

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Just like the others, I do not support the encouragement of selling shark fin soup. From what you readed above, does this restaurant understand the huge impact of such a dish on the marin eco-systeme? Would you not consider changing your menu for a eco-friendly one? Now would be, I think, the best moment to do so. You know it is bad for those creature why do you keep on selling it?

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It's not a question of culture, it is a question of the bigger picture. Just because it is a practice that has gone on for centuries does not make shark finnin ok. It is a practice that is brutally killing and animal and leaving it to die a horrible death...in exchange for something that has basically no nutritional value from this brutal killing and is nothing more than a status symbol. It is unfortunate that these restaurants don't understand how much of an impact one little thing on their menu can have on the world...and how much greater their business would be if they would simply stand up and say 'this is wrong and we don't support it'. The community that is concerned about our oceans is a huge one...don't underestimate the power of like minded people.

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Shame on KCET! It is an inconvenient truth, but Shark fin soup is a travesty that can only be made when sharks are mercilessly slaughtered, destroying the oceans fragile eco balance. Please remove this restaurant from your contest and boycott all restaurants that serves Shark Fin soup!

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We take all your comments and points of view with deep respect and propose discussing the issue with the people at Empress Pavilion; cultural practice or not, I think all your points are loud and clear and we will look into this matter immediately. Empress Pavilion restaurant serves some of the best Dim Sum in Los Angeles - our contest was concentrated in the offering of Dim Sum (not shark finn soup!) But we get, understand and are sensitive to you all. Thanks for keeping us real!

This is wrong in so many ways.

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Empress Pavilion is well know for it - although the cultural practice may offend some. In an interview with the late Irvin Lai (which you can find here) we discussed how cultural practices, food, health and environmental regulations have been a point of debate for Chinese Americans...What do you think?

I think it is time to quit using "cultural practices" as an excuse to rationalize bad practices, especially ones that have worldwide ramifications. Shark populations are being decimated because of the practice of shark-finning, all for a bowl of soup that was once reserved for the elite. I'm sorry, when you can now buy that same soup in a strip mall restaurant in Arcadia, the "cultural" aspect of it is no longer an issue. ALL RESTAURANTS MUST STOP SELLING SHARK FIN PRODUCTS. Our oceans, our lives, depend on it.

In the time it took me to write this comment, 10 more sharks died at the hands of humans. I just returned from scuba diving the Galapagos Islands, one of the most remote and pristine areas on earth. The once majestic schools of hammerheads and Galapagos sharks are disappearing- all to support this "cultural practice".

KCET has been a recognized leader in educational television, but one this topic you have completely failed. Right the wrong, pull the promotion and contest, and explain why shark-finning must be stopped- NOW.

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Also please remember that at one time it was a fully acceptable cultural practice to keep slaves as servants, and burn witches and heretics. Would those practices stand today?

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I guess Mike your culturally ignorant. Yeah, shark fin soup is inhumane in your eyes and many others, but to others, it is their culture. To make the comparison to slavery's a low blow. Slavery didn't change over night, it took over 200 years. If you could switch out cruel cultural practices, our world be a better place. Get off your soapbox and educate, that'll make the big difference.

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I understand that comparing this brutal practice to practices in our history that have been banished or are no longer deemed acceptable is hard to stomach. You must see that although cultures may have their practices does not make them okay. Especially if we have the knowledge and research to prove that it's wrong. It's one thing couple hundred years ago to fish or hunt for sharks or whales, when there wasn't quite the technology yet to be able to wipe the entire species.
The rate at which sharks are being killed for shark fin soup and other various reasons is unsustainable. The massive quantity of sharks harvested and lack of selection deplete shark populations faster than their reproductive abilities can replenish populations.
So maybe it's up to YOU to get off your soup box, educate your self, and realize that because some thing is a cultural custom it does not make it right. Shark finning at the rate we have today has the potential to wipe out the entire species and without sharks we do not have a balance in our eco systems. Without sharks there will be no balance of the fish who eat plankton. No sharks=no plankton, no plankton=no oxygen. Think about it.

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Grayson, isn't being on a soapbox educating if presented properly? How else should I educate other than taking a stand against those things that I find offensive, and making those thoughts known? We don't have 200 years to stop the horrific practice of shark-finning, or many other "cultural practices".

Thank you KCET for making a good decision. Hopefully you will also help us educate people as to why this practice needs to end.

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I'm SO happy that Departures and its affiliates took into consideration the fact that this particular restaurant serves shark fin soup and the many people who have expressed their disappointment in supporting a restaurant that serves this soup. It's admirable that a website would consider what it's members were saying and not support the barbaric practice of shark finning!! Thank you!! Maybe in the near future there could even be an article on here about shark finning and how to do your part in saving the ocean :)