Vancouver’s Spot Prawn Festival opened last weekend and, although this delicacy is generally wasted on this writer, numerous British Columbians are delighted the season is underway.
The Chefs’ Table Society of BC founded the festival eight years ago, and events are also held on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan Valley. At False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf in Vancouver last weekend, chefs were at hand to provide cooking demonstrations and to dish up “Brine and Dine” combos. Down on the dock, casual diners enjoyed both the food and harbour views. When we stopped by, the crowd gathered by the cooking demonstration – where it seemed men outnumbered women looking for tips on prawn prep – was at least a dozen people deep. Back at the boats, parents and prawn fishermen alike were happily introducing curious little ones to these wonders of our waters, from which 2,450 metric tonnes of spotted prawns are harvested annually.
The season runs anywhere from six to eight weeks, and more than 90% of the commercial harvest is exported. Here at home, even with prices ranging from $15 to $17 a pound directly from the boat, you’ll find people happily heading home from the wharf swinging plastic bags of the spotted treats.