Many Australian divers went professional abalone diving in the 1960′s – before licenses and regulations.
I was one of them. The price we were paid for fresh abalone, in adjusted values is about 50 times less than what the professional divers are paid today.
Today’s licensed divers have a lot of overheads. A $5 to $7 million license being just one.
New South Wales professional abalone divers have a serious problem. A marine disease (not harmful to human health) effects the health of the abalone and in turn where abs can be harvested and how many can be taken.
The disease which makes the mollusk limp and sick has appeared further south and into the state of Victoria.
In Taipei abalone is sold and advertised everywhere. The Chinese name translating as food for king.
The dried South African abalone is soaked, sliced very thin and cooked with medicinal herbs especially as a treatment for an eyesight problem.
Is only South African abalone suitable? A good question.
The formula of herbs and the nature of the eye problem are details too difficult to inquire about without consulting a Chinese medical practitioner.
The price of dried abalone – is a just under $1 Australian dollar per gram
The medium-sized dried ‘ab’ (above) weighed 88 grams for AUD $80 in Taipei recently. (About NT $2200)
Beware, the acoustics in this place can be terrible when it is packed.
Maria, originally from NE China, now restaurant manager of the Mei Guan Yuan Japanese Restaurant (Since 1946), in Ximen. Tender (canned) abalone strips with crunchy prawn heads soaked in honey. Unique as far as I’m concerned.
In a city with superb food everywhere I expect fast food franchises have had their tough times.
Missing western food a little we went for a pizza. Not cheap (AUD $16 approx) but delicious.
Imagine a Lobster and Abalone pizza in Australia. Not likely.
The daily wage for a young person in a convenience store is about AUD $36 here. (NT $1000) Very few of these will spend half of one day’s pay on a pizza.
An indication of the variations of wealth in the city where wages are the envy of the Asian poor and where a big Rolex store has half a million Australian dollars worth of stock in their windows.
Footnote: At the time of sampling, Pizza Hut was using imported cheese powder from China, contaminated with melamine! I’d be surprised if this has not been corrected since then.