Shark meat at Southern Spice in Flushing

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” Luckily, sharks are not friends. How delicious it is to be on the top of the food chain, most of the times. And how even more exceptional a feared man-eating creature can taste when it’s sauteed in an exotica of spices. Shark Attack!

Southern Spice in Flushing, Queens for Southern Indian food and shark meat

We recently had an outer borough experience at Southern Spice in Flushing, Queens. What caught my eye about Southern Spice was that it was not only a restaurant dedicated to the sometimes forgotten Southern Indian cuisines, but it also had a shark meat dish on its menu.

Sharks are terribly misunderstood creatures. They do not find their way on menus but are eaten and enjoyed by a variety of cultures across the world. Unfortunately, I am no shark connoisseur but I’d fancy that different sharks have different tastes. Yet, to generalize, shark meat is similar to crab meat and swordfish. The flesh is white and flaky in addition to being quite firm. Unlike swordfish, and hence more like crab, the meat has subtle hints of sweetness. However, to properly put it all out there, make no mistake, a shark tastes like a shark. Behind the familiarity of textures and consistencies, there is an undeniable alien fishy gaminess to it. The gaminess to me was similar to that of slightly poignant vinegar/pickling smell & taste. Off-putting? Not the very least. Enjoyable? To a certain degree, yes.

shark meat and head from anmidough's flickr stream

Minced shark meat sauteed with curry leaves, onion, ginger, and cilantro

Unlike other times I’ve eaten shark, which were normally shark’s fin soups, the shark meat was full of flavor. Southern Spice minced its shark meat and sauteed it with curry leaves, onion, ginger and cilantro. It is almost impossible to prepare anything with these spices/aromas and not taste good. The minced shark meat just melted in one’s mouth, similar to how a bonito flake just wilts away when it feels heat. In between gristle of shark bones and spines, the spices nicely complimented the fishy taste of the shark. Unique? You bet your dolphin butt. For me, the shark meat was particularly enjoyable when eaten with garlic naan.

We are still unsure of what type of shark meat we had. We hope it was Great White! Mako shark is said to be considered the best tasting of sharks. In regards to the other dishes, Southern Spice was excellent, home-style Southern Indian fare. On the menu are littered some more familiar and Northern dishes. The decor is sparse, but the food comforting. There will be a more formal write-up on the restaurant soon.

minced shark meat from cjac's flickr stream

Other shark meat dining options in NYC

There are not too many non-Chinese restaurants that serve shark fins and/or meat. Here is a list of restaurants in the NYC area that have shark of some type on its menu: shark week is every week

Shark meat recipes suggestions. Give me some fin!

Like fish, shark is a versatile creature that can be prepared and cooked in a host of manners. Freshness is always key when it comes to seafood and apparently shark fishing is a good time – I cannot wait to suggest our next boys outing. “Then we need to find a fish that can read this. Hey, look! Sharks!”

Here are some other shark cooking ideas and recipes:

fresh shark steak from exit 50's flickr stream

Appendix: North versus South, Indian cuisines

I am a terribly huge lover of Indian cuisine, it is so different, exotic and full of flavor (…not much unlike myself). Most of the Indian food we consume here in the US is Northern Indian cuisine. Dishes studded with ghee (the unbelievable clarified butter in which every ingredient swims in), lathered with cream/diary, loaded with powerful spices like gram masala, and these bubbling concoctions of flavorful goodness served with breads/rotis/naans of all diversity. I love it, but where there’s a north, there’s a south.

The cuisine of Kerala has a very special place in my heart and in my book, it totally rocks. Kerala is one of the Southern Indian types of cuisine. Southern Indian food is very different from its northern brethren. Coconut makes a pronounced introduction in Southern Indian fare. Coconut milk/cream and oils make their ways onto plates in high frequency. More tropical flavors like curry leaves, ginger, cardamom, and tamarind are found in these dishes. Seafood is also more prevalent and plays wonderfully with the spices and aromas of Southern Indian cuisine. And not to be forgotten, there less breads/naans in the South and much more rice. As an half Asian, I cannot say no to more rice.

15 comments… add one
  • Brian Jun 25, 2014

    Only full grown sharks have acquired enough mercury in their flesh to harmful. If you eat juvenile sharks the mercury levels are perfectly safe. The downside is you need more sharks for the same amount of meat but I find the smaller sharks to be healthier and tenderer. It’s an ok substitute when Dolphin or whale meat is unavailable.

  • Aniko Sep 23, 2010

    You realize that they are endangered species right? Bad enough, they are very dangerous to eat; mercury levels are very high in sharks. High levels of mercury can cause cancer and if ingested during pregnancy can induce birth defects. You should go and volunteer at a chemotherapy unit; you’ll see that cancer is not a joke and maybe you’ll change your mind about advertising shark meat.

  • Sam Sep 23, 2010

    This is just sad. I feel really bad reading this article. I grew up in a Chinese family. For years we are told that shark fin soup are good for your health. As an avid scuba diver, I feel this was wrong. I did my own research and exposed the truth to my entire family and friends now we took a pledge to stop consuming any shark products.

    There is really no nutrition value in shark products. As a matter of fact, they are covered in mercury (thanks to our industrial waste) which could lead to mercury poisoning if consume.

    The other reason we shouldn’t consume shark products is the simple reason that we need them to keep the food chain in order in our ocean. Shark could be considered a cleaner fish. They will usually help pick out the weak and sick one and let the healthy fish swim free. If this is the case, that mean that they are helping keeping our ocean healthier. In return it would b better for us too.

    In conclusion, please stop consuming shark products. you got nothing to gain from it. You are just killing yourself and the environment around you slowly.

  • Meg Flasco Sep 23, 2010

    Sharks do not exist to feed our big, fat, bellies or to sustain our amusement in hunting expeditions! They’re here for a reason, and that reason is to keep the food chain in balance. By depeleting their numbers we are only hurting our planet and ourselves, eventually! With all the fish in the sea, why do some people feel it necessary to choose sharks as a food item? Someone please answer this for me in an intelligent and thoughtful manner! I’ll be waiting for your response.

  • Roberto Castillo Sep 23, 2010

    Sharks have a very slow reproduction rate. Some species need up to 15 years before they reach their sexual maturity.Therefore it is very hard for their population to recover. Due to the economic expansion in countries like India and China there has been and increase in consumption in these “specialty” dishes like shark-fin soup, tiger penis,etc. I live in Ecuado/Southamerica and it has been sad to see the sharks disappear from our coasts…very very sad.
    I blamed people´s ignorance in third world countries but now I´m even more depressed to see this type of ignorance in developed countries. Maybe you should inform yourself a little more before writing an article like this.

  • Kathryn Sep 23, 2010

    THIS IS A DISGRACE TO MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD WHICH IS NOW LIKE CHINA/KOREA, WHERE THEY WILL EAT ANYTHING: BUGS, CATS, DOGS, NOW SHARKS.. IT IS DISGUSTING.. myabe they will all get cancer and die

  • Adam Huntigton Sep 23, 2010

    You are a horrible person. To think that you can eat an animal that would cause no harm upon a human.

  • Steve Viner Sep 23, 2010

    There are thousands of people out there who are now working very hard all over the world to save an endangered species and change the misconceptions about sharks!
    Your first paragraph is quite possibly the worst piece of journalism i have ever read and an embarrassment to the USA.
    Is ‘Asian’ your real name? Or are you to scared to put a real name in, due to possible hostile reactions?

  • Robbajoe Sep 23, 2010

    Please read this before ordering any shark dish again, especially shark fin soup!

    http://www.sharkwater.com/education.htm

    Thank you

  • Vic Sep 23, 2010

    I think the author of this has eaten more than enough mercury from seafood judging by this article. Not only advocating the evil finning trade but making it sound like he is god and not one of the beings put on this earth to protect it and ensure it flourishes. I suppose eating less intelligent or poorer people will be next on his menu or options to recommend. Imbecile.

  • Veerle Roelandt Sep 23, 2010

    Why ?? Sharks are really needed in our oceans and they are already endangered. By writing articles like this you do not help ! Killing sharks is cruel, unneccessary ! Next time please think twice before writing things like this

  • Joeri Kiczula Sep 22, 2010

    STOP EATING SHARKS NOW !
    IDIOTS !

  • Jenn Sep 22, 2010

    omg…obviously you either aren’t aware or don’t really seem to care, that every year approx. 100 MILLION sharks are brutally slaughtered. Shark finning is a HUGE issue as most times this is done while the shark is ALIVE and then it’s dumped back into the ocean to drown (which can take days).

    You are contributing to the extinction of an apex predator from the ocean that keeps the balance and the oceans healthy!! is this something you’re proud of!?!?!? shame shame.

    shark populations are have decreased by 90% in the last 15 years. Within a very short amount of time the sharks will be extinct. It takes 25 years for a shark to become sexually mature and only have 2-3 pups a year.
    These are NOT sustainable animals. The cannot handle the overfishing!!!

    I agree with the above posts….VERY disgraceful.

    Save the sharks, don’t eat them!!!!

  • antonette Sep 22, 2010

    Are you serious… Not only are sharks endangered, and beautiful… They are FULL OF MERCURY… So keep eating. The shark will ONLY KILL YOU

  • Rich Husband Sep 22, 2010

    The fact that sharks are endangered doesn’t mean anything to you does it? I can’t actually believe that you have written this, it’s disgraceful. Shame on you.

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