Nothing quite marks the start of the summer season like the opening of spot prawn season in B.C.
These sweet morsels are not just delicious, they are sustainable, too. Listed a "Best Choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, trap-caught spot prawns come from a plentiful, healthy population.
Saturday marks the 7th Annual B.C. Spot Prawn Festival, a free event at Vancouver's Fisherman's Wharf on False Creek, where you can watch chef demonstrations, buy prawns fresh-off-the-boat, enjoy live music and a kids' play area.
Of course, when you get those critters home - and they are best cooked alive - you'll want to know how to prepare them. And while there's nothing wrong with a simple boil or steam, you might feel like kicking things up a notch.
With that in mind, we have compiled some delicious recipes from B.C. chefs to inspire and tempt you. Will it be Rob Feenie's pasta, or Wild Rice's spot prawn har gow? Tableau's posh corn dogs, or Araxi's sophisticated tortelloni?
Tickle your taste buds with our gallery:
Spot Prawn Season Begins
The <a href="http://chefstablesociety.com/spotprawnfestival/" target="_blank">7th Annual Spot Prawn Festival</a> takes place on Saturday May 11, with off-the-boat sales, cooking demonstrations, live music and a kids' play area at <a href="http://maps.google.ca/maps?rls=com.microsoft:en-US:%7breferrer:source%7d&oe=&redir_esc=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=false+creek+fisherman%27s+wharf&fb=1&gl=ca&hq=false+creek+fisherman%27s+wharf&hnear=Vancouver,+BC&cid=0,0,1182091845447335075&ei=TvecTbTzIIPAsAOBp-3pDg&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=2&ved=0CCEQnwIwAQ" target="_blank">False Creek Fisherman's Wharf</a>.
Araxi's Spot Prawn Tortelloni With English Peas And Bacon
<a href="http://www.araxi.com/" target="_blank">Araxi</a>'s Chef James Walt says: Filled pastas like these tortelloni—which means “little twist” in Italian—are very easy to make, especially with a little practice. In this dish, the subtle flavours of the prawns in the filling and the peas in the sauce go together very well. Remember to taste some of the peas before you buy or pick them to be sure they are perfect. Read the <a href="http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/Araxi_JamesWalt_SpotPrawnTortelloni_.pdf" target="_blank">recipe</a>.
Tableau Bistro's Spot Prawn "Corn Dogs" With Garlic Aioli
<a href="www.tableaubarbistro.com" target="_blank">Tableau Bistro</a>Executive Chef Marc-André Choquette takes a fairground favourite and elevates it into sophisticated snack food. Read the<a href="http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/tableau.pdf" target="_blank"> recipe</a>.
Rob Feenie's Garganelli With Prawns
Vancouver's own celebrity chef, Rob Feenie, pairs succulent spot prawns with pasta to produce a fresh, light summer dish. Read the <a href="http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/garganelli.pdf" target="_blank">recipe</a>.
Wild Rice's Spot Prawn Ha Gow
Chef Todd Bright at <a href="http://www.wildricevancouver.com/" target="_blank">Wild Rice</a> steams fresh spot prawns inside homemade dumpling wrappers, to give an Asian twist on this beautiful B.C. seafood. Read the <a href="http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/dumplings.pdf" target="_blank">recipe</a>.
Sustainable Spot Prawns
Spot prawns from British Columbia are considered the "Best Choice" by the <a href="http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx?fid=190" target="_blank">Monterey Bay Aquarium</a> as their populations are healthy and abundant.
Next: Best Restaurants In Vancouver: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/04/best-restaurants-vancouver-mothers-day-brunch_n_3211424.html" target="_blank">Mother's Day Brunch</a>
Yew Restaurant + Bar
<a href="http://www.thehaltiwangerreport.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Mark Laba</a>, writer and sausage enthusiast. @shmendrick For the thoroughly modern mom there’s no better spot than swanky <a href="http://www.yewrestaurant.com/" target="_blank">Yew Restaurant</a>. Stunning, contemporary West Coast room with equally beautiful food but they'll ding you a bit for the privilege, although Sunday is also their half price bottle of wine day so that’s added incentive. Chef Ned Bell is designing a special Mother’s Day brunch menu so look for Lobster Bacon Benedict and Crème Anglaise-Soaked Brioche French Toast. $87 per adult, $40 for kids 5-12, and 5 and under are free. This is your chance to show mom you’re no cheapskate.
Yew Restaurant + Bar
Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
<a href="http://urbandiner.ca/author/canucklehead/" target="_blank">Lee Man</a>, food writer and founding judge of the Chinese Restaurant Awards. Dim sum is always a family friendly affair, and <a href="http://www.dynasty-restaurant.ca" target="_blank">Dynasty Seafood's </a>beautiful light filled room and gracious service will have mom feeling a little extra special. Dynasty's elegant offerings are all made in house; the truffle oil-scented mushroom dumplings, bouyantly fresh mixed vegetable buddha's feast, and citrus bright lemon BBQ pork pies are all fantastic.
Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
Steamed black truffle dumplings.
Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
Various dim sum.
Joie Alvaro Kent writes for Montecristo, NUVO and Vancouver magazines. @JoieWrites <a href="wildebeest.ca" target="_blank">Wildebeest</a> is my pick for an ineffably cool Mother's Day brunch spot. It recently took top honours as Best New Restaurant of the Year at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, and its adventurous farmcentric cooking walks the gastronomic high wire with delicious panache. I've got a soft spot for Wildebeest's pork jowl atop long pepper oats, topped with a poached egg and drizzled with bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup—no other oatmeal dish you've ever had could even come close. And "The Dutch Baby" is a new dish that I can't wait to try, fluffy and light topped with cow's milk ricotta and orange marmalade syrup. For a luxe libation, order the Mamacita: sparkling wine delicately flavoured with peach, basil, ginger, and lemon.
Apple bread french toast, housemade ricotta, roasted apples, vanilla chantilly
Scrambled eggs, bone marrow, parsley salad, toast
<strong>Mijune Pak</strong>, founder and writer of <a href="www.followmefoodie.com" target="_blank">FollowMeFoodie.com</a>, an award-winning food and travel blog. @FollowMeFoodie Not an obvious choice, but <a href="http://www.eborestaurant.com/" target="_blank">Ebo Restaurant's</a> Executive Chef Dan Craig is a fantastic chef. Off the beaten path in Burnaby, but it's worth a visit especially for dinner. While many places increase prices of their breakfast buffets just because it's Mother's Day, EBO does not. They make it very family friendly with affordable prices and there's even a children's buffet for the little ones. They don't hold back on options and they serve international cuisine. You can get everything at the buffet, but make sure you leave room for John's handmade roti canai station. They make them fresh on the spot with the same techniques used in Malaysia. $45 per person. Seating at 10.30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. Children up to six years free; Seven-12s half price.<a href="http://www.shermansfoodadventures.com/" target="_blank"></a>
Empire Seafood Restaurant
Brendon Mathews is a freelance food writer, specializing in Chinese cuisine. @Keith<a href="http://chineserestaurantawards.com/index.php" target="_blank"></a>Talent Dim sum is a superior idea to brunch in Chinese food-mad Vancouver, always. <a href="http://www.empirerestaurant.ca/esr/" target="_blank">Empire Seafood Restaurant's</a> sleek new room serves immaculately prepared dim sum to hordes of patrons. Order the steamed rice roll with crispy pork roll, an innovative take on the standard rice roll, that adds textural elements to the usually flaccid item.
Xi Shi Lobby Lounge
Kasey Wilson is an award-winning food and travel writer, co-host of <a href="http://www.am650radio.com/tonyandkasey.aspx" target="_blank">AM650s Best of Food & Wine</a> and editor of Best Places Vancouver. Afternoon tea is so much more relaxing for Mother’s Day. The <a href="http://www.shangri-la.com/vancouver/shangrila/dining/bars-lounges/xi-shi-lounge/" target="_blank">Xi Shi (Iron Lotus) Lobby Lounge</a> at the Shangri-La doubles as a tea venue from 11.30 a.m. until 5 p.m., so the guys will feel comfortable here, too. The traditional menu features fancy sandwiches, two varieties of freshly baked scones with clotted cream, four desserts and a choice of 25 green, black and herbal loose leaf teas. A Mother’s Day package includes complimentary valet parking, tea and a massage at Chi, The Spa.
Seasons In The Park
<a href="http://www.thehaltiwangerreport.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Mark Laba</a>, writer and sausage enthusiast. @shmendrick Location, location, location. Not a bad seat in the house. <a href="http://vancouverdine.com/seasons-park" target="_blank">Seasons In The Park </a>overlooks gardens and shrubbery with unpronounceable Latin names. What mother doesn’t love food and flowers? And this place has both in spades, plus a pleasant stroll through the park’s winding pathways afterwards will help work off some of the more decadent items you might have indulged in. Recommended: Smoked Salmon Benedict or the steak and eggs.
Seasons In The Park
Brunch with a view is certain to please mom.
Next: Best Restaurants In Vancouver: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/23/best-restaurants-vancouver-list_n_3139752.html" target="_blank">Which List Should Foodies Use?</a>
This gallery shows Vancouver restaurants that have been voted the city's best. First on the list is Hawksworth, which was named restaurant of the year by Vancouver Magazine in its 2013 Restaurant Awards. Address: 801 West Georgia Street <a href="http://www.hawksworthrestaurant.com/" target="_blank">http://www.hawksworthrestaurant.com/</a>
Diva at the Met
645 Howe Street <a href="http://www.metropolitan.com/diva/" target="_blank">http://www.metropolitan.com/diva/</a> Awarded "Silver" in the Best Upscale category at Vancouver Magazine's 2013 Restaurant Awards.
120 West Hastings Street <a href="http://wildebeest.ca/" target="_blank">http://wildebeest.ca/</a> Awarded "Gold" in the Best New Restaurant category at Vancouver Magazine's 2013 Restaurant Awards
777 West Broadway <a href="http://www.tojos.com/" target="_blank">http://www.tojos.com/</a> Vancouver Magazine named this number one in its "Upscale Japanese Dining" category at the 2013 Restaurant Awards.
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street <a href="http://www.bluewatercafe.net/" target="_blank">http://www.bluewatercafe.net/</a> Awarded "Gold" in the Best Seafood category at Vancouver Magazine's 2013 Restaurant Awards.
Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill
1133 and 1129 Hamilton Street <a href="http://www.cioppinosyaletown.com/" target="_blank">http://www.cioppinosyaletown.com/</a> Named "Best Upscale Italian" restaurant in Vancouver Magazine's 2013 Restaurant Awards.
562 Beatty Street <a href="http://www.chambar.com/" target="_blank">http://www.chambar.com/</a> Named Best Restaurant Overall in the Georgia Straight's 2013 Golden Plates awards.
1253 Johnson Street, Granville Island <a href="http://www.docksidevancouver.com/" target="_blank">http://www.docksidevancouver.com/</a> Named "Best Patio" in The Georgia Straight's 2013 Golden Plate Awards.
1795 Beach Avenue <a href="http://boathouserestaurants.ca/" target="_blank">http://boathouserestaurants.ca/</a> Rated "Best View Restaurant" in The Georgia Straight's 2013 Golden Plate Awards.
The Noodle Box
1867 West 4th Avenue <a href="http://noodlebox.net/" target="_blank">http://noodlebox.net/</a> Named "Best Takeout/Delivery" in The Georgia Straight's 2013 Golden Plate Awards.
1480 West 11th Avenue <a href="http://www.vijs.ca/" target="_blank">http://www.vijs.ca/</a> Voted number one on Yelp.ca's survey of the best restaurants in Vancouver.
2183 West 4th Avenue <a href="http://www.bishopsonline.com/" target="_blank">http://www.bishopsonline.com/</a> Rated number one restaurant in Vancouver by TripAdvisor readers.
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