Some Taiwanese farmers are switching to a new way of earning their living -- snail breeding.
SV PAN Snail beds for breeding in a room with men kneeling down looking at snails
CU Snails being held and snails being watered with watering can by Chinese man. Snails kept on a bed of lettuce
SV AND PAN Women bringing baskets of snails to be weighed in factory
CU & PULL BACK TO snails being doused with water and put on conveyor belts and put in hot water to cook them (3 shots)
SV Women shelling snails and CU Of shelled snails (3 shots)
SV Women shelling snails returning to shelled snails coming off conveyor belt.
SV TILT TO CU Of snails being dropped into plastic baskets
GV Factory workers taking tins of snails off table
GV Large factory steam vats for cooking
CU AND PAN Of tinned snails being packed into boxes
CU Tin of snails being opened by Chinese chef and drained into a colander
CU Chef putting cooked snails back in shells and garnishing with butter
GV Waiter serving snails to customers
CU Snails being removed from shells and eaten by Chinese lady
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Background: Some Taiwanese farmers are switching to a new way of earning their living -- snail breeding. In 1975 the first batch of canned snails, or escargots, from Taiwan was well received on overseas markets. Sine then the price of snails has ben soaring, earning hundreds of millions of dollars for Taiwan.
SYNOPSIS: Among the more than two hundred varieties of snail found on Taiwan, the agate or giant African snail has the highest commercial value. There are more than 22-thousand different types of snail found all over the world. But of them only the apple snail, the garden snail and the agate snail are edible.
Snails are either canned or frozen for export. They are first placed in brine, then boiled for ten minutes to kill parasites.
The snail flesh is removed from the shell and its internal organs are cleaned out. At present, the main markets for Taiwanese snails are the United States, Canada, Holland, West Germany, France and Britain. In the United States, escargots from Taiwan are even more popular than those from France. As well as canned or frozen snails, dried escargots are also popular on foreign markets.
Chefs like to prepare escargots by boiling the cleaned snail with onion and spices. Then the escargots are covered with butter and garlic and inserted back into their shell and baked for a few minutes. Rich in protein, snails have high economic value as a food and tonic. And with order pouring in from all over the world, snail farms have become a popular sideline for Taiwanese farmers.