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Obama does takeout at restaurant that still serves shark fin soup

February 17, 2012 |  6:09 pm

President Obama in San Francisco's Chinatown
You’ll excuse the president if he doesn’t have time to fully scan the menu when he’s grabbing some takeout.

That has to be the logical explanation why President Obama made a surprise visit to a Chinatown restaurant during his swing through San Francisco on Thursday, one of the few that still sells shark fin soup, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The sale of shark fins has been outlawed in California since October, although restaurants that already had a supply on hand will be allowed to continue to serve it up until July 1.

The Great Eastern restaurant, a Bay Area landmark, has braised shark fin soup on its menu for a mere $45 a bowl.

Last month, Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act, which protects most species from being harvested for their fins.

To his credit, the president didn’t order a shark fin soup, but rather a cross section of dumplings -– 14 items in all.

Obama made his unannounced visit to the restaurant after he arrived in San Francisco to attend three fundraising events, working the dining room, posing for pictures and shaking hands before picking up his food and stopping at the register to pay.


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-- Steve Marble

Photo: President Obama greets patrons during a surprise visit to San Francisco's Great Eastern restaurant. Credit:  Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images