BC spot prawns make their triumphant return on Saturday, May 5th at False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf, just off the entrance of Granville Island. The Spot Prawn Festival celebrates its sixth year of sustainability and participation in the Eat Local movement. It's an outdoor gathering of spot prawn enthusiasts and Chefs, complete with a Spot Prawn Boil, cooking demos, and the opportunity to purchase these tasty crustaceans fresh off the boat.
The Chefs' Table Society of BC once again hosts this growing festival, and they expect to draw hundreds of people to feast and learn about this truly sustainable and local indulgence.
As popular as they may be today, it is only recently that these succulent morsels began to enjoy well-deserved fame on their home turf. Until six years ago, BC spot prawns were imported to Japan in its entirety; Steve Johansen of Organic Ocean explains that it took a fishing trip with Chef Robert Clark to realize that spot prawns needed to stay here in Vancouver.
"Rob Clark and I came up with the idea five years ago. It's really because I had Rob out here fishing and he wanted [to use] the prawns, but I told him it was all going to Japan. So that winter, we came up with the idea of a Spot Prawn Festival to keep all the 'Luv' at home. It didn't make sense to ship all these beautiful prawns and be stuck eating farmed tiger prawns that are not very good."
And it's a good thing they did. Steve describes that BC spot prawns are "like eating sugar. These spot prawns, all day long when we are fishing, we eat them alive out of the trap. They are sweet, succulent, and melt-in-your-mouth tender."
If product quality alone is not enough to get you down to the dock, know also that our local Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Association--the Festival's title sponsor--represents one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world. Instead of cutting down the man-made rainforest to make room for expanding tiger prawn farms, BC prawn fishermen like Organic Ocean catch them in "clean glacier water, and they are wild and grow naturally, so that you can feel good about eating them." And BC spot prawns are as local as they get. Steve mentions that when they are fishing, they are fishing only 5-6 miles away from downtown Vancouver.
So for 8 short weeks, you can do your part to eat local and sustainably, and delight your taste buds at the same time. BC spot prawns are available in the early afternoon daily from False Creek Fishermen's Wharf for $12 a pound.
And with all the cooking tips and inspirations you will take back from the Spot Prawn Festival, you won't run out of ways to enjoy these crustaceans.
Spot Prawn Festival Quick Links
- Official site: spotprawnfestival.com
- Buy tickets online to win the Yew Prize Draw for You
- Learn about BC spot prawns: Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Association
- Twitter: @spotprawnfest
Special thanks to Welbert Choi for use of his photos from last year's Spot Prawn Festival.