The dish, which is considered an expensive delicacy in some countries, has prompted a widespread outcry from environmental groups for its links to animal cruelty.
According to The Associated Press, Trump ate the dish as part of a state dinner in Hanoi during his 12-day trip across Asia. E&E News confirmed the evening’s menu featured shark fin soup as the meal’s fifth course.
Trump is widely known to be a picky eater who prefers to dine on steak with a side of ketchup. However, the president made no comment about the shark fin soup when it was presented to him, White House pool reports said.
Shark fin soup is popular in China and demand for the dish, which can sell for up to $400 a bowl, has skyrocketed as the country’s economy has grown.
Based on some estimates, more than 70 million sharks are killed annually to satisfy demand for the soup. To obtain the meat for the dish, fisherman catch the sharks, hack off their fins and throw the animals’ mutilated bodies back in the water. Because the sharks need their fins to swim and breathe, the animals slowly suffocate or bleed to death as they sink to the bottom of the ocean.
Although major awareness campaigns about the environmental impacts of shark fin soup have been successful, the dish is still served in eateries around the world.