Spot Prawns in Cowichan Bay

Went to the Spot Prawn Festival in Cowichan Bay last weekend. Whoever organized the Ride for Dad motorcycle convention in Cowichan Bay on the same weekend as the festival was a genius. Thanks to the 500+ bikes streaming out of the parking lot at the north end of Cow Bay (which incidentally left traffic at a standstill), my 23-month-old can now count to 15.

First priority was food so we stopped at Hilary’s Cheese & Deli, mostly because there was a vacant table on their sheltered patio. I ordered the spotty prawn seafood soup and sandwich; my friend enjoyed a salad and sandwich. That lunch confirmed Hilary’s as my new favourite lunch stop in Cow Bay. My sandwich was a True Grain Bakery baguette stuffed with delicious cheese and meats. The soup was so delicious yet so filling I took the rest home where it didn’t last five seconds in my starving husband’s hands. My friend commented on how fresh her salad was compared to the limp lettuce and sad tomatoes she’d eaten in a Vancouver restaurant the day. Big city salads just can’t compare to Cowichan Valley freshness!

After strolling along Cowichan Bay Road, listening to a group of happy women knocking out melodies on their beautiful glockenspiels, we found the prawns being sold straight off a boat to a long line of eager shellfish lovers. My friend and I order a pound each, which was laughable as those before and after us ordered enough to feed their neighbourhood.

And after I brought them home I could see why. I fried the beauties in grapeseed oil and butter, as demonstrated to a crowd of 50 onlookers by entertaining chef Brock Windsor from Stone Soup Inn (I’ve heard so much about Stone Soup Inn that if it’s not the next thing I do I will go crazy insane!). The prawns were just divine.


  1. Stone soup Inn for us too…..Maybe we could fill up our cars with folks from Maple Bay ( still suffering some withdrawl of the Grapevine!)Ruth

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