By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours
Sweet, delicate, light and delicious, British Columbia’s spot prawns are highly coveted by chefs and foodies from around the world. In addition to their unique taste and spotted markings, fresh spot prawns, bred and harvested off the coast of British Columbia, are one of the most sustainable seafood choices on the market.
BC’s spot prawn season is a short 6-8 weeks, which kicks off with an annual Spot Prawn Festival in Vancouver. On May 12, 2018, sun poured over the docks at Fisherman’s Wharf for the 12th Annual Spot Prawn Festival, where chefs, foodies, and seafood lovers gathered together to greet the fishing boats and indulge in the season’s first harvest.
While the festival may be a one-day event, anyone is welcome to partake in the daily spot prawn spectacle at Fisherman’s Wharf. Just two minutes from Granville Island, anyone can walk down to the dock, chat with the fishermen, and buy a few pounds of live spot prawns caught just hours prior. The experience is so nonchalant, but that’s exactly the thrill. The exchange from fisherman to foodie is strikingly simple.
Peter, owner of the Bay Spirit, is a friendly face to look for at the docks. Fisherman’s Wharf is where Peter grew up – his father was a fisherman and these docks are like home to him. Despite more than 30 years of experience under his belt, Peter still greets all those who arrive at the dock with a friendly conversation before sending them on their way with a scoop of fresh spot prawns.
British Columbia is known for its bounty of local ingredients, but spot prawn season is a perfect time to experience what that really means. According to Peter, “between 1 and 2 o’clock is the best time to catch a few boats pulling in.” Peter helps supply the numerous seafood shops at the Granville Island Public Market but also noted that this year, he’s seen more “everyday people” alongside chefs buying directly from the boats. Straight from the Bay Spirit, spot prawns are going for $20 per pound – a steal of a deal, as seafood aficionados can attest.
Though you may see “spotted prawns” at sky-high prices in select stores year-round, these are often farmed overseas in freshwater pools, often exposed to chemicals, and pre-frozen. During May and June, you’ll want to look for “BC Spot Prawns” on local restaurant menus, paired with the Ocean Wise certification symbol.
In Vancouver, Boulevard Restaurant, Maenam and Miku are just a handful of restaurants to feature local spot prawns on their special menus. For an evening of seafood & bubbles, grab a ticket to Edible Canada at the Market’s May 29 event.
Vancouver Foodie Tours is a locally-owned walking food tour company with a passion for Vancouver’s food scene. The Best of Downtown Tour is a must-do for seafood lovers, and includes beer, wine and cocktail pairings. This is the city’s #1 Rated Tour on TripAdvisor! Learn more about Vancouver Foodie Tours at www.foodietours.ca.