Live Spot Prawns Are Only Here for a Month—and You Can Try Them at This Festival

This annual celebration is definitely worth the drive to Steveston

It’s one of the most delicious times of the year—when spot prawns line the coast of B.C. for just a month (that’s it?), and we can’t get enough of them. So, to aptly toast this occasion, Richmond is throwing its second annual Steveston Spot Prawn and Seafood Celebration from May 16 to June 18. Here’s everything you can do at this short-but-sweet affair.

Buy some prawns (of course)

Local fisherman holding up a spot shrimp
Local fisherman Frank Keitsch explained that the easiest way to identify a spot prawn is from the four white spots on its tail.

If you want to get your hands on B.C.’s finest catch of the season, head to one of the many boats down at Steveston’s Fisherman’s Wharf dock. If you’re an early riser, you’re in luck because sales start at 6 a.m. All you need to bring is a reusable bag, some cash—and the patience to bear the lineups. While a pound of spot prawns can be a bit pricey (about $25 per pound this year), they’re certainly worth it—and local fishermen like Frank Keitsch are putting in the hours so we get to indulge in this tender delicacy. As a professional fisherman for 40 years, Keitsch has spent 15 to 17 hours every day during the spot prawn season practicing sustainable fishing methods. “We know it is seasonal, so you’ve just got to get your power up to do it,” he says.

Indulge in local flavours

Spot Prawn Ceviche
Spot Prawn Ceviche by Steveston Seafood House chef Sushila Narain

To get the complete culinary experience, head to one of the many local eateries serving up some serious prawn action. The Spot Prawn and Seafood Dine About Digital Passport makes the experience even sweeter with $2 off on every feature dish at participating restaurants. At the Steveston Seafood House, try chef Sushila Narain’s fresh and flavourful Spot Prawn Ceviche topped with cilantro, lime juice and jalapeños for a summery treat. If you’re feeling extra fancy, chef Harris Sakalis at the Globe@YVR Fairmont Vancouver Airport has whipped up a decadent Spot Prawn and Cherry Gazpacho to tickle all your taste buds. But if you want to get down and dirty with your hands, the Britannia Brewing Company has the right dish for you—a fully shelled spot prawn paired with a smoked butter sauce and a side of perfectly toasted bread.

Spot Prawn and Cherry Gazpacho
Spot Prawn and Cherry Gazpacho by chef Harris Sakalis from Globe@YVR, Fairmont Vancouver Airport

Get in on the game

If you’re nosy like me and want to learn some cooking secrets, join local chefs on June 10 and 11 at the festival’s culinary stage to find out what goes into creating great seafood dishes.

And here’s another fun thing to check out! The Spot the Spot Prawn activity takes place throughout the festival and will have you “answering clues to spot Demetrius the spot prawn, and his spot prawn friends, located all over Steveston Village.”

To enjoy more spot prawn celebrations across Metro Vancouver, read about all these spot prawn hot spots here.