The Keeton Team had the opportunity to tour an Abalone Farm while visiting Jeju Island, Korea. Abalone aquaculture is a vital part of the community of Jeju. Beneath the sparkling Jeju surf and the hulls of fishing boats carving through the waves is a creature of culinary legend – the abalone. This shellfish, found feeding on seaweed in only the cleanest waters of the ocean, forms a vital part of Jeju cuisine and holds an elevated position as the “Emperor of Shellfish” not only in Korea, but the world over. (JejuWeekly.com)
Once tasted its remarkable flavor, delicate and creamy, with a firm texture and a clean aftertaste, is not quickly forgotten. When stir-fried in its shell, it develops a slightly smoky flavor. Abalone dishes are not about the strong marinades and spices that many of us associate with Korean cuisine. They are all about delicacy and appreciation of the finer flavors offered by Jeju’s seafood. For those seeking optimum nutrition abalone can be eaten raw, thinly-sliced, offering a texture with more bite and an equally creamy taste as its cooked counterpart. (JejuWeekly.com)
The Keeton Team were able to try abalone on several occasions. The best by far were the fresh abalone cooked on the grill in front of us. The grillers would place the live abalone on the Korean table grill and they pull them off when they were finished. The freshness and flavor was great, especially when you add a bit of chili paste on top.
Abalone Farm Tours
The abalone farms were particularly interesting and they stick out in our minds because of the set up and simply because no one in our team had the opportunity to visit a farm like this. To see all of the plastic racks stacked into the cement water tanks, was impressive. Each plastic rack had several of the tiny abalone slowly growing. The farmers were kind enough to pull out some of these racks and let everyone take a closer look and snap pics. These farmers grow the abalone for two years on average before harvesting and selling for consumption. Abalone aquaculture is definitely an interesting sector of the aquaculture industry and our team is grateful to have seen how it operates in person.
If you ever have the chance to try abalone, please do. You won’t regret it.