Just the other day I was reading a story in the Wall Street Journal about how there’s a glut of East Coast lobsters this summer. The story noted that prices for lobsters at some docks in Maine have fallen to as low as $1.25 a pound—70% below normal and nearly a 30-year-low for this time of year.
Good news for consumers, right? Not according to WSJ. They say consumers aren’t likely to see any bargains this summer because “retailers have fixed costs that limit big price drops.”
Well, that’s not true at the Seafood Kingdom stall at the Richmond Night Market where, on Saturday, I not only got half a grilled lobster for $5.95 but I also got a whole abalone in oyster sauce for $6.
I don’t know how you can top that. In fact, I don’t know how they do it, even if lobster is going for only $1.25 a pound wholesale (you still have to ship it to Vancouver, keep it alive, and then you’ve got your operational costs).
I asked the guy who served me my lobster, Alvin Fung, how they could afford to do this. Alvin, it turns out, is the director of a special project by the seafood retailer A&J Specialty Seafood, and that project happens to be finding a way to expand their wholesale operation into retail as well.
Alvin explained to me that they can sell lobster and abalone for just $6 because they don’t have to deal with a middle-man—they are the middle-man. “We’re trying to introduce the public to our products,” said Fung, who told me that the lobsters, which are Ocean Safe, come from Nova Scotia, and the abalone is farmed in New Zealand.
They were both good although I definitely was drawn to the grilled lobster motoyaki. But I had to try the abalone since I haven’t had fresh abalone in—god, I don’t even know when. A long time. But next time I think I’ll just spend my $12 on two lobsters and skip the abalone.