About the Fisherman Warf in Steveston we learned immediately on our arrival to Vancouver – it is a well-known place. However, we were able to get there only after three months. How does it look like and what can you buy there? Well, first they sell from fishing boats parked at the pier. The market is located in the southern part of Richmond. If you live there you must have an idea how to get to the Mart, and I will briefly explain the way for those who reside elsewhere. You need to head all the way to the South, taking highway # 99, then make right to Steveston highway, and next go up to its end – but why don’t you check with the map? In summer the market is open every day, and from October till spring only on Fridays and weekends. There is no problem with the parking lot. If there is no spot, just park anywhere – in half an hour, while you are there, they won’t have enough time to tow you away.
Here you are, and now go and check out the market, but do not rush to buy. You will see that there are not more than just five-seven boats there. As one fisherman explained to me, many prefer to deliver fish and shrimps to the wholesale depots not to deal with the retail trade. Nevertheless, there are still those, who prefer to bring fish directly to a consumer, or to this market. What kind of fish can we find there? First of all, it’s salmon and tuna, rockfish and trout. There are also other kinds, but I only know what they are called in Japanese, unfortunately… Ye, there are lots of shrimps, both fresh and frozen.
As you know, they catch fish depending on season. And there are five varieties of salmon only — Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, Sockeye. Those of you who are interested, may refer to this website http://www.goldseal.ca/wildsalmon/species.asp. At Steveston Market one may find all varieties. If you arrive on Saturday or Sunday near the closing, i.e. around 5 o’clock, you may be lucky enough to purchase a huge fresh salmon for just 8-10 dollars. You can grill it, fry, or make fish soup, and of course you may also make it salted. What are the recipes? Write to me, and I will provide you tons of details! As for shrimps, at Korean fishermen’s boat it is possible to purchase three pounds for mere ten dollars, and they are pretty big. By the way, you can find the fishermen of all nationalities on the market — Greeks, Germans, Poles, Hungarians, the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese. Alas, I didn’t encounter any Russians yet… Well, and now it’s turn for red salmon roes or as we call it ‘Ikra’! Yes, the roe is still being sold in abundance; however, what I mean is the prices, which sometimes really do bite.
Thus, red roe prices at Steveston on fresh (unfrozen) stuff vary, and may sometimes go up as high as 10 dollars per pound (1 pound = of 454 deg). The cheapest one — 6 dollars, i.e., if we arrive at the closing, well, or become friends with a fisherman and buy from it wholesale, let us say, more than 6-10 pounds. As for the frozen ‘Ikra’ it costs approximately 4-6 dollars per pound. What roes are better to use to make top-notch pickled deli ‘Irka’? Of course, the fresh one is the best! But because of high prices I’m pretty satisfied by frozen roes – actually, I’d even say that from childhood I was used to this particular taste. All right, what about the outcome. Definitely, when the initial product is fresh the outcome is better (to separate the grains from the skin). Yet out of 1 kg 200 gram bag I managed to get 900 grams, which is not bad. How I do make it? Do write to me, and I will share with you my personal technology! And where I do buy red roes? Ha-ha.. Not at Steveston, but at some other place…
Fisherman Market at Granville. Honestly, I learned about this one not so long ago, and it’s situated just next door to the famous Granville island, which is to the south of downtown. And it’s called Granville Fisherman Warf. In search of cheap roes I went there on one rainy Saturday, and I was lucky! Among three ships which were selling that day, only one carried salmon eggs, and oh boy (!), it was real cheap, — as I’ve already mentioned, for only 1.2 kg a fisherman named Frank takes 6 dollars. Thus, one kilogram cost of prepared ‘Ikra’ was only 8 dollars.
Next day, I paid another visit to the Granville Mart to buy more – the ‘Ikra’ turned out just superb! I brought some to give Frank to try, and Frank with great pleasure had it for his lunch, saying: «Wow, it’s just great! Mitch, I’ve heard that it’s better to make it out of fresh roes, but now I can see that the frozen ones are not bad at all! » I nodded: «That’s it, Frank! Some Russians here do assert that you may smell fish oil. As for me, I don’t care, or I’d say I love natural fish oil instead of swallowing artificial vitamins. In my childhood I used to drink it from a spoon». «You are smart, Mitch!» — Frank said, while working on the last roes. «Here we go, Mitch, take ten additional packages, as you requested for just forty bucks. I’m making a discount for you, bro! And now, this is from me personally, a small token.» And here Frank rummaged under the counter and extracted a pack of first-class caviar (!), oh boy. «Jeez!» — I exclaimed, «It must cost a lot of dough here in Vancouver!» «Cut down the crap, Mitch, and just accept it. I’m the only fisherman in British Columbia, who is allowed to catch sturgeon twice a year, and therefore extract caviar.” «Well, Frank, even if you caught it illegally, you know, we Russians, are not that much law-abiding people, so I do accept it from you. Thank you so much, bro! I going to promote your business among my friends and acquaintances, amigo!”
We did some small talk for a while, and Frank was at the point of running to the liquor store and buying vodka to celebrate our new friendship relationship. Alas, I couldn’t help but rush back home and start making a new portion, including caviar. If you do not believe me, just look at the photos — here Frank is eating red roes, well, and here is the black one – caviar. And I wish that you, too, go to the Mart and buy some ‘Ikra’, salmon or just shrimps. They are so good with beer,