Free Salmon for Everybody: Sunday August 28

healthy grilled pink salmon

Vancouver is a fishy town and salmon is king.  Residents here know their sockeye from their chinook from their coho.  But one variety that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention is the mysterious pink salmon.

That’s all about to change.  The second Pink Salmon Festival is this Sunday at oceanside Hadden Park, by the Maritime Museum in Kitsilano.  More than 1,400 kilograms of pink salmon will be grilled and sauteed for visitors.  And the best part:  You can get a plate of pink salmon for free.  The idea is to get more exposure for pink salmon and introduce diners to its unique virtues.  In flavour, pink salmon is a little like trout, much lighter in colour and taste than sockeye salmon, for instance.  And, for fish lovers on a budget, pink salmon is only about one-third the cost of more popular wild salmon varieties.

Up until now, pink salmon has gotten a bad rap because it was never stored properly on fishing boats.  But increased demand means that the fish are now flash frozen and arrive to market in pristine condition.  Another huge virtue of this variety is that they grow fast and are abundant.  Unlike other salmon, whose stocks are in a general state of decline, pink salmon need just two years to mature.  This short time in the ocean also means that they don’t contain as many contaminants, such as PCBs, as other fish do.

Grilled Whole Pink Salmon Presentation

But enough about the fish.  Here are some more details on the weekend’s festival.  Free barbecued salmon sandwiches, served on a bun with coleslaw, will be available for anyone who wants a taste.  According to a great article by the Vancouver Sun’s Mia Stainsby, there will be plenty of salmon available if you’re in the mood for seconds.   The food is actually being prepared by one of Vancouver’s preeminent chefs, Robert Clark of C Restaurant, who has pioneered the use of sustainable seafood in the city.

There will also be live bluegrass music and exhibitions on sustainable seafood.  The festival is this Sunday, Aug. 28, from noon-5 p.m. at Hadden Park, which is right next to the Maritime Museum in Kitsilano (the museum is shaped like a big A-frame house).

Any fans of pink salmon out there?  How does it stack up against Vancouver’s other local seafood?

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