Sustainable Seafood Gets Wild in More Ways Than One at the Unsung Heroes Festival - WestCoastFood

By Alexis Baran

On the Northwest Coast, we all know the light taste of just-caught fish, most of us know the refreshing saltiness of oysters grown in cold waters between local islands, and perhaps some of us have even been adventurous in our sushi choices from time to time. But unless your family’s cultural roots have introduced you to them young, you may not have tried jellyfish or sea urchin. But, even if the aforementioned is old hat, have you tried a jellyfish waffle or sea urchin quiche?

Now is your chance. Every February the Blue Water Café + Raw Bar in Vancouver dreams up innovative ways to prepare some of the lesser-eaten seafood of Canada’s West Coast. As a founding member of the Ocean Wise program, Executive Chef Frank Pabst has a commitment to sustainability in his cooking; a large part of sustainable practice is choosing seafood that is abundant rather than sea life that is declining due to overfishing or any of the other harmful things humans have been doing to the oceans.

On every plate that is served at Blue Water throughout the year you’ll find only sustainable seafood, but it’s only in February you’ll find sturgeon liver pate or red sea cucumber carbonara. Why not give these a try:

Unsung Heros Festival - Blue Water Cafe - Image by Areta Wong
Carp Roe Bombolini| Image by Areta Wong

You’ve heard of bacon on doughnuts, so why not try fish eggs on your doughnuts? The carp roe “bombolini” (above) is a savoury (and very different) take on the Italian treat, topped with roe and filled with roe cream.

Unsung Heros Festival - Image by Iris Yim
Jellyfish Waffle | Image by Iris Yim

If you are familiar with Korean cuisine, you may have already had the privilege of dining on a seafood pajeon. Blue Water Cafe has taken the spirit of a pajeon, full of green onions, peppers and kimchi, mixed it with a western-style waffle, and topped it with local jellyfish.

Sustainable Sea Cucumber Carbonara
Red Sea Cucumber Carbonara | Image by Areta Wong

Garlic, black pepper, pecorino cheese and squid ink pasta creates an invitingly picturesque meal (above), topped with red sea cucumber, harvested just offshore.

The Unsung Heroes Festival is happening all February. Catch it at Blue Water Café + Raw Bar, located in Vancouver’s Yaletown at 1095 Hamilton Street. Open 4:30pm-1:00am.  

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