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Vancouver's free Spot Prawn Festival returns this spring

It's one of the most delicious times of the year in B.C.
Do you know how to spot a B.C. spot prawn? The season runs May-June, and in Vancouver is celebrated with the annual Spot Prawn Festival, which takes place on May 26, 2024

One of the most delicious times of the year in B.C. is right around the corner: Spot Prawn season!

The largest shrimp species found in B.C. waters, Spot Prawns are distinguished by their white spots on their tails. One of the province's most celebrated delicacies, the short Spot Prawn season is punctuated by special menus showcasing the seafood and one major Vancouver event, the annual Spot Prawn Festival.

The Spot Prawn Festival will take place Sunday, May 26, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 pm. at Fisherman’s Wharf by Granville Island in Vancouver.

First launched in 2006, the annual event is hosted by The Chefs’ Table Society of BC (CTS), Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association (PPFA) and acts as a fundraiser to support scholarships for culinary students, and to further education, mentorship, and sustainability initiatives. 

"Every year, I eagerly anticipate the spot prawn season, when we celebrate the arrival of this incredible shellfish from British Columbia’s waters," shared Chefs’ Table Society President Chef Johnny Bridge in a media release.

Fest is free but food tickets must be secured in advance

Access to the festival area is free, which gives attendees the chance to head to the docks to buy fresh-from-the-water spot prawns directly from fishers, as well as to view cooking demos and take part in family-friendly activities.

The fest includes two delicious ticketed tasting options: Bowls of Spot Prawn Bisque from Organic Ocean, or a six-course brunch.

Tickets for the bisque, served with a freshly baked bun, are $10 a bowl (plus tax and service) and if you want, you can take it to go. Purchase in advance or take a chance you can score a ticket onsite (supplies are limited). Select a one-hour pick-up time slot; there are four slots between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to choose from:

  • 11 a.m. to noon
  • Noon to 1 p.m.
  • 1 to 2 p.m.
  • 2 to 3 p.m.

The other way to enjoy the fest - and feast - is to go all-in for the Spot Prawn Brunch, a "grazing-style" affair enjoyed at high-top tables featuring a tasting menu of six B.C. spot prawn dishes for $79.

The brunch features six dishes showcasing the delectable spot prawn in different preparations as made by incredible local chefs, along with samples of beer and wine and a sweet treat.

Brunch is 19+ only and is presented in two ticketed sessions, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and cannot be bought day-of at the site. Six of the chefs will serve in the morning brunch session, the other six in the afternoon, however, due to scheduling constraints, those details will not be shared in advance of the event. 

Some of the talented chefs serving at the 2024 Spot Prawn Brunch are:

No tickets are needed to take in the live culinary demonstrations at Fisherman's Wharf. The Spot Prawn Chef Demo stage will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn Spot Prawn cooking techniques from talented local chefs such as Hilary Nguy of Sushi Hil Restaurant and Mark Singson of Mabuhay YVR.

The 2024 Spot Prawn fishing season open date has yet to be determined. Typically the season opens mid-May and lasts about four to six weeks. Once the season opens, fresh BC Spot Prawns will be available at Fisherman’s Wharf and local markets around BC until the season closure. Frozen-at-sea spot prawns are available year-round.

Spot Prawn Festival

When: Sunday, May 26, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: False Creek Fisherman's Wharf - 1505 W 1st Ave, Vancouver

Cost: Admission is free but tickets must be purchased for the Spot Prawn Bisque ($10) and the Spot Prawn Brunch ($79)

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