Spot Prawns are up there with lobster as one of my all-time favourite foods. They are indigenous to the West Coast, from Alaska to BC to Southern California. The name is actually a bit of a misnomer, as spot prawns are actually shrimp. In fact, they are the largest of the 7 commercial species of shrimp found in Canada’s west coast waters. The harvest season for BC spot prawns usually only lasts about 8-10 weeks, starting at the beginning of May and ending in early July. For 4 consecutive years now, I’ve planned my summer trips to Vancouver around spot prawn harvest season. Though we can sometimes get spot prawns here in at T&T Supermarket in Calgary, the shipments are few and far between. To get the freshest spot prawns, I would usually buy them directly from the Organic Ocean boats, which usually dock at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf located just northwest of the Granville Island Public Market between the Burrard and Granville Street Bridges. However, on this occasion, for the sake of convenience, I just bought them from the T&T Supermarket in Richmond.
There are many ways to prepare spot prawns which include frying, grilling, barbecuing, sautéing, boiling, roasting, baking, or steaming them. I usually like to keep things simple as I don’t want to make a mess of my friend’s kitchen. I just boil some water and throw the prawns in the steaming basket.
And after a couple of minutes in the steamer, voilà… Steamed Spot Prawns! To keep things simple, I usually throw together a dipping sauce consisting of low sodium soy sauce and a couple of drops of Japanese sesame chili oil (such as S&B’s La-Yu Chili Oil). I find the low sodium soy along with the sesame chili oil really helps to bring out the delicate flavours of the spot prawns.
What I love about the spot prawns is its natural sweetness. As well, I like its firmer, denser texture, which almost resembles that of lobster. If it were up to me, I would want to eat these every day of the week while I’m in town. However, not all of my dining companions are as crazy about them as I am. Luckily for me, on the recent trip to Vancouver, I managed to get in two meals of spot prawns.
Where To Buy
1505 West 1st Avenue
Vancouver area T&T Supermarkets