Every year, Vancouver's annual B.C. Spot Prawn Festival kicks off B.C. spot prawn season with a free festival at Fisherman's Wharf by Granville Island. Highlights of the Festival include the Spot Prawn Boil, cooking demonstrations with Vancouver celebrity chefs, free entertainment and kids' activities, and a chance to buy your own spot prawns fresh off the boat.
This year, the B.C. Spot Prawn Festival happens Sunday, May 15, 2016, 11am - 3pm.
Events at the B.C. Spot Prawn Festival 2016
Spot Prawn Boil: The main event of the Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival is Canada's largest Spot Prawn Boil, a chance to enjoy fresh-off-the-boat boiled spot prawns, plus sides, sauces and bread from Terra Breads, and a sample tasting of B.C. wine or beer, for $17.50 per person. Buy tickets for the Spot Prawn Boil in advance before they sell out: Spot Prawn Boil 2016 tickets.
Vancouver Celebrity Chef Cooking Demos: To inspire your own spot prawn recipes, Vancouver's top chefs will be doing live cooking demonstrations (and offering tastings).
Buy Your Own B.C. Spot Prawns: Get your own spot prawns direct from fishermen. (Spot prawns will continue to be sold for 6 - 8 weeks post-festival at the same False Creek Fisherman's Wharf; spot prawn boats arrive daily around 1pm.)
Special 2016 Festival Events
This year is the 10th anniversary of the BC Spot Prawn Festival, so there are extra events!
Spot Prawn Gala on Friday, May 13: To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Festival kicks off this year with a special gala event at the Vancouver Club, with celebrity chefs and a six-course BC Spot Prawn dinner. Proceeds benefit Oceanwise. More information here.
Spot Prawn Cooking Classes, Saturday, May 14: Another 10th anniversary special event, these one-hour cooking classes will teach you how to use BC Spot Prawns in your own cooking.
History of the Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival
Sweet and succulent, B.C. spot prawns are a sustainable seafood (they've earned the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise seal of approval) and a great way to "eat local." Yet until 2005, B.C. spot prawns were exported to Japan almost exclusively. That changed when Steve Johansen of Organic Ocean teamed up with C Restaurant's Chef Robert Clark to create the first B.C. Spot Prawn Festival in 2006 as a way to keep B.C. spot prawns local. Since then, spot prawns have become a beloved local, seasonal food in Vancouver, and the annual Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival, organized by the Chefs' Table Society, has grown into a must-visit event.
BC Spot Prawns at Vancouver Restaurants
If you love B.C. spot prawns, keep an eye on your favourite Vancouver restaurants after the festival: Many Vancouver restaurants will be adding B.C. spot prawns to their menus through May / early-June. Tojo’s, one of the Top 5 Vancouver Sushi Restaurants, famously makes a divine spot prawn sashimi. The New Oxford and The Blackbird Public House will each host Southern-style seafood boils, dishing up BC Spot Prawns and veggies onto newspaper covered tables.