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Spot prawn season has arrived in Richmond

Long lines form in Steveston to get first dibs on the local delicacy.

If there’s one thing that can make Richmondites line up, it’s spot prawns. 

This year’s spot prawn season at Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston kicked off this weekend with long lines forming before 9 a.m. and two boats already announcing they were sold out for the day. 

One of those lining up Saturday morning was Vicky Lau, who recently moved to the area and, due to the pandemic, hadn’t gotten out to explore her new city that much. 

“I’m really happy to be able to finally get some [spot prawns]. I’ve wanted to get some for a long time,” said Lau, who lined up with her friend at around 9:40 a.m. 

Despite arriving early in the morning, Lau was worried that the coveted spot prawns might be sold out. 

“A few of the boats over there already sold out. So yeah, we guess we lucked out. It’s a big line-up and we’re lucky that they still have stock,” she said. 

Joining dozens of spot prawn enthusiasts in the line were Fei Meng and Mark Lim.  

Meng is visiting from Ontario, and this will be his second time buying fresh spot prawns in Steveston, the last being way back in 1996. 

“It’s sweet. And it’s all local. It’s fresh. When you get them, boy, you might as well get to eat them, right?” said Lim, while lining up Saturday morning. 

Although spot prawns can easily be found in local restaurants as well, they could cost almost double the price of buying them fresh, explained Lim. 

Early bird gets the prawn 

So why are spot prawns so popular? 

“Over the last few years, the excitement about spot prawn season has really kind of amped up,” said Justin Taylor, a fisherman at Steveston Spot Prawns & Seafood. 

“Ever since COVID, I think people had more time and more money to spend on focusing on eating good food, and especially good local food. 

“Spot prawns were something new to try at the time, and since then, people have acquired a taste for them.  

“It has now become their spring routine to buy live prawns straight off the boat.” 

Taylor’s boat was also one of the boats that was already sold out before 9 a.m. 

“[During] opening weekend, there’s a lot of people who want that first feed of it. So we opened at 6:30 a.m. and today we were sold out at 8:30 a.m.,” said Taylor. 

But fear not if you’re not an early bird, several boats, including Steveston Spot Prawns & Seafood and Prawns on the Spot, offer online pre-orders, so you can pick up the sweet, crispy prawns at your leisure. 

For those planning to head down to Steveston this weekend, Taylor suggested bringing your own bags or containers in order to avoid using single-use plastic bags. 

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