Sharing the Spotlight at Granville Island

Hello, Vancouver!

This week, Vancouver Foodie Tours was proud to plant the VFT flag on Granville Island. We recently joined forces with Edible Canada to design and deliver a brand new tour of the iconic Granville Island Public Market. As the second-most visited destination in Canada, Granville Island is filled with history, culture and, of course, world-renowned food. We are thrilled to be a part of the action and are privileged to showcase the culinary prowess of Granville Island.

Edible Canada

Despite the hype around our new foodie tour, it turns out we aren’t the only ones new to grace the Island. This Saturday, a whole new kind of foodie craze will reach the shores of Fisherman’s Wharf. Any guesses? It’s something you may have “spotted” on our Vancouver food blog last May…

It’s the kick-off to Spot Prawn Season! Okay, okay, if there’s anyone and anything we have to share the Granville Island spotlight with, we’d pick these sweet, juicy, delicacies of the sea any day! The annual Spot Prawn Boil will be taking place this Saturday at the Fisherman’s Wharf and foodies and chefs from all over the city will be celebrating. As always, Spot Prawn Boil kick-off event has sold out, but rumour has it that there may be a few tickets “at the door” if you show up at 11:00am! If you don’t already have plans, it’s definitely a fun thing to do in Vancouver! Watch for photo updates on our social channels this weekend!

If you missed grabbing a ticket, don’t be dismayed; there are 6-8 weeks of spot prawn glory still to be enjoyed. Spot prawn season is great opportunity to “eat Vancouver” – whether you eat, buy, cook, spot prawns, you’ll be sharing in a distinct part of Vancouver’s foodie culture! Here’s what you need to know…

Spot Prawn1

About spot prawns – Why do we care?

Spot prawns are considered a delicacy throughout the world for their sweet and light flavour and firm texture. They are relatively easy to identify for  their reddish colour and distinct white spots.

Spot Prawns in BC are considered to be some of the most consciously-harvested prawns in the world. By harvesting with baited traps spread along the rocky ocean floor rather than with nets, the fisheries have limited impact on the sea bed and other species.  Approximately 2,450 metric tonnes are harvested annually, with about 65% of the harvest coming from the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

Until a few years ago, almost all of BC’s harvest was frozen and sold in Asia. A few of Vancouver’s committed chefs, notably Chef Robert Clark and Chef Ned Bell, wanted to “break down the barrier and encourage people to cook fish at home,”  and worked to keep a portion of BC’s harvest for the locals. BC chefs and the Chefs’ Table Society of BC have played integral roles in educating and supporting sustainable practices. And of course, dedicated foodies like us are always helpful to the cause!

Spot Prawn2

How to buy spot prawns – Granville Island:

What’s the deal with buying spot prawns at Granville Island vs. a stock grocery store? At Granville Island, they’re fresh of the boat! And, any foodie will tell you that spot prawns need to be enjoyed at their freshest. At False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf, they’re caught that very same day. A few things to help you “spot” the winning prawns:

  • Buy ’em live! Don’t purchase dead spot prawns that still have their heads on
  • Avoid any with black spots (this is an enzyme that is released which turns spot prawns soft and mushy)
  • Look for prawns with firm, translucent flesh

How to cook spot prawns – A few handy tips:

  • They’re best cooked live (you can actually eat them raw)
  • Don’t overcook! 1-2 minutes until they turn pink is just right
  • Note: If spot prawns aren’t on your menu that night, avoid putting them in tap water! The chlorine content will actually kill the little buggers. Instead, remove the heads, pack the prawns into a container, and fill the remaining space with ice. Refrigerate and change out the ice each day, for up to 3 days.

Whether you’re joining us on our Granville Island Market Tour or taking in the Spot Prawn Festivities (or both), it’s going to be a fantastic weekend on Granville Island! I hope to see you there!

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