[Revised to add]
Please note we bought and made this soup prior to knowing how devastating the practice of shark finning is to the current population of sharks and to the ecology of the oceans. This was, in fact, the only instance we have prepared anything with shark bones. Apart from this soup (whose shark bone came already pre-packaged with the rest of the ingredients), we're happy to say we have not partook of any shark fin products and will continue to abstain from it.
To our then and future anonymous commenters who wish to speak on this topic, I would appreciate it if you would be courageous enough to publish a name. I would also appreciate it if you could keep the conversation civil.
For information on shark finning, a good film to watch would be Sharkwater by Rob Stewart.
While perusing the aisles of our favorite Chinese supermarkets, we always wonder about these "convenience" packs for soup-making that we see. See, we (or Mama) don't really make these types of Chinese soups at home, the types with the "weirdo" things in it like honey date, dried longan, beans and whatnot.
Basically, these were very exotic for me! ;)
convenience food, Chinese-style
I just find it somewhat amusing that the "convenience packs" this Chinese supermarket has still require about an hour or two to cook. It's not something you can plop into the microwave 5 minutes before you want to eat and have it ready. Guess if the particular defect we have is poor planning then we're out of luck. ;)
Curiosity got the better of me and I had to have one of these packs. Problem is, which one? There were so many to choose from! Even though I knew that we would have to eat similar soups two days in a row, I went ahead and chose 2 packs. This is the first.
"Shark Bone Seaweed with Pork"
This pack had pork and pork backbone, seaweed, peanuts, mung beans, honey dates, dried longans, dried orange peel, and shark fin.
Look! Wow! It's a blood tonic (I don't know what that means) and helps prevent cancer! Cool. I originally wanted something to help cool "hot" (yang) from the body but I eventually chose this (and another one).
I like how the directions assume you know how to cook soup. That is, it didn't need to specify a stockpot size or how much water to add.
Oh, by the way, this pack was less than $7.00, but look at all that meat! I ended up slicing the pork meat but left the bones alone.
The rest of the "exotic" ingredients. ;)
dried orange peel
mung beans (green bean)
(Our mother eats these as a snack.)
There they are all dumped into a pot. As per the instructions, I added water (to cover) and let it come to a boil. Then I covered and simmered it until done (when the meat is tender).
Convenient Chinese Soup!
The soup had a familiar pork broth taste (pork bone soup/ma-kut soup being one of Mama's favorite things to cook) and a "sweetness" to it. This is one of those soups that are served as the "house soup" in homier Chinese restaurants.
My only complaint was the sharkbone: it smelled so fishy! (Malansa.) Ech. And somehow, cooking it in the soup did not really get rid of its fishiness. This could've been left out altogether.
Otherwise, it was good. For about seven bucks, you get a whole lot of soup... and meat! Just add rice to it and it's a meal.
Pork Soup with Shark Bone and Seaweed (Chinese Soup #1)
Pork Soup with Hairy Gourd and Peanuts (Chinese Soup #2)