Odd Airport Finds: Canned Abalone in Australia
Airports are fun! Playing host to a captive audience that's eager to get their butts on a plane, many airports offer unique features like local shopping, interesting entertainment and special eateries. With our new series called Odd Airport Finds we'll highlight the unique things we've encountered at airports around the world.
On a recent trip that found us wandering the terminal of Brisbane International Airport, a shop called Australian Produce Store caught our eye. Since we were intrigued by which 'produce' might be able to be taken over international borders, we had to have a browse.
Amongst the shelves of Aussie wines, candies and crocodile jerky, we noticed a section completely devoted to canned abalone. Yep, the edible mollusk that is usually acquired for its mother-of-pearl shell for jewelery and buttons. It's also a sought-after delicacy and is found off the coasts of Victoria and Tasmania. Used in a variety of dishes like sashimi, Korean stew or just plain grilled and braised, the shellfish makes any menu a bit more special.
These little 'Iron Chef' worthy nuggets don't come cheap; even the canned variety. For a 425 gram (about 15 ounces) can of the meaty sea creature, you'd be forking over $59.95 AUD, or just about $55 US. Just to get an idea of how much abalone that is, typically, connoisseurs can find one or two large abalone in each can. This is not a case of over-inflated airport prices since a can elsewhere will set you back around $45; still not cheap.
If that price is a little rich for your blood, but you really want to sample the delicacy, a less expensive option of abalone sauce is available for $7.50. At that price, if you don't particularly enjoy the flavor, you won't have airport-buyers-remorse. Whether you spend a little or lot, make sure you declare it at customs.