Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Soybean Oil

Country: Canada
Calories: 130

I like a can not fussed up with sustainable b.s. Just good, honest fish.

Nose: A bit fishy. A bit oily. To me, this is the classic way to eat sardines at the office. A good solid lunch.

Eye: So pretty. An honest look. Not mishandled. Not stripped of flavor giving bones or skin. They aren’t tarted up with mustard or tomato sauce or spices. Just fish and a bit of oil.

Shiney, happy fishes.

Fork Feel: Firm but giving. Not tough. I think the soy oil softens the fish just enough. It’s a nice texture.The bones give it a nice crunch

Highly forkable fish

Tongue: The honest taste of the fish is nice. Not overwhelmed or covered up with anything else.

Mouth Feel: Oily and filling.The taste lingers in the mouth. You only eat 130 calories but you won’t feel like eating the rest of the day. Some crackers might complete the meal with some extra texture. I’m happy.

Northern Catch Sardines in Mustard Sauce

You know it’s mustard because the can has yellow!

Country: Canada
Calories: 140

Notes: This is the Aldi store brand. My college student daughter like Aldi so I have high hopes.


Nose: Mustardy. The last sardines in mustard I had were more vinegary while this has that the mustard carries through more..

Eye: The fish looks a bit beat up. And they don’t fill the can. It says it’s the same (3.75 oz) as other cans but….. Oh, and the mustard is all on one side of the can. Maybe someone tossed the box around a bit in shipping.

Fork Feel: The fish are crumbly. Maybe the mishandling got to them. Every time I try to stab a fishy with my fork it falls apart so there’s lots of scooping and when I scoop there’s the chance of mustard covered fish falling onto my shirt. I don’t appreciate that.

Tongue: I’m not a mustard guy but this has a brown mustard flavor to it which I do appreciate. It compliments the fish.

Mouth Feel: They are dry, unpleasantly so.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Water with Sea Salt

Country: North Pacific
Calories: 140

Nose: Nothing but the smell of sardines from this can. Open this up on your front porch and the neighborhood cats will come running.

I find the blue package calming.

Eye: Oil does give it a bit of a sheen but otherwise, they look like little fishes. And I like eating little fishes.

I love that dirty water…..

Fork Feel: I thought the salt water would soften them up but not so. They are meaty little guys.

Tongue: They aren’t as filling as ones that come with oil. I miss the umami but I could see using these in a recipe where I was adding my own fat.

Mouth Feel: Not too salty at all. As I’ve been told, salt makes things taste more like themselves and it’s true. These sardines taste very sardine-y which I like.

Season Brand Sardines in Tomato Sauce Salt Added

Country: Morocco
Calories: 194

Nose: Smells of tomato paste and nothing but. Read the ingredients. Yep, that’s what it is.

Wow! Look at all those certifications!

Eye: Kind of ugly, no? The can came with this flimsy paper-ish lid that reminded me of a yogurt top. I want something a bit more solid on my fish, especially from a hot place like Morocco.

Flimsy top.

Fork Feel: Very firm. They are also tightly packed in which seems to stiffen them up a bit more. A bit too solid feeling

Tongue: The tomato taste just lays on top of the fish. It’s not marinated at all so you have to swirl it a bit but once you do you get a descent taste. If you have some pepper or other seasoning laying about the office, give it a try. And if you like the taste of sardines as I do, you will find it smothered here so there’s that.

Mouth Feel: They didn’t dry out the fish and the aftertaste is that of spaghetti-os.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Marinara Sauce

Country: North Pacific (processed in Vietnam)
Calories: 157.5 (the nutrition label is a little different on this one)

I never noticed the little fishing line with a hook off the boat before. Not a nasty net for Wild Planet!

Nose Open it up and it smells like discount spaghetti sauce.

Eye: It doesn’t look bad but could be improved by cooking up some pasta and tossing it in. Not a bad lunch at all.

Fork Feel: Very firm. It doesn’t’;t feel like the tomatoes were too acidic and cooked the fish too much. That’s nice.

Tongue: The sauce brings some sweetness – maybe it’s the added sugar – to the fish. Not in a bad way. One small detail: I’ve noticed a metallic understate – just a hint – about half way through eating the can.

Mouth Feel: The sauce seems to give a fresh after taste after eating the fish that the oil or lemon based cans of sardines do. That’s a pleasant change up.

I do like the little finger divot they put in below the pull tab. That’s considerate.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Lemon-Lightly Smoked

Country: North Pacific (processed in Vietnam. Hey, so was my dad!)
Calories: 170

Nose: None whatsoever. The office grumps are not going to yell at you for this one.

Eye: A slice of lemon right on top. That’s nice. These Wild Planet guys just look healthy and fresh to my untrained eye.

Beauty shot!

Fork Feel: A little soft, actually. As in other tastings, I think a bit of acid/lemon does that. But it’s not too bad. I prefer it to be meatier and oiler so I’d go without the citrus but I wouldn’t turn it down if offered.

I eat well.

Tongue: I’m not getting too much of the lemon. Maybe just an overall lightening of the taste but that’s it. There’s no citrus taste to it.

Mouth Feel: A slight amount of mealiness which I sometimes find it lemon flavored sardines. It’s bordering on dry but not there at all. Just flirting with dry.

Handled with such care I had to take it out of the can.

King Oscar Kipper Snacks Lightly Smoked Herring Fillets

Country: Canada
Calories: 160

Old Beardy is Back!

Note: Man cannot live by sardines alone. I usually go for sardines simply because I try to eat fish at lunch every day. While I’m not one to be afraid of my food, mercury is a thing and sardines are at the bottom of the mercury chain (and cheap!) so they are my normal go to.

Nose: Fishy! Not really office friendly. Then again, neither am I.

Eye: These are some pretty fish.I like it when fish look like fish. These do. They aren’t tarted up to look like something they’re not.

Apparently the Brits eat with eggs. I’m going to have to try that.

Fork Feel: Packed like Marie Kondo had a go at them. Very tidy.

Tongue: Kippers taste like kippers. These taste like kippers. I don’t have much kipper tasting experience however. I like how these taste. It seems a good honest working man taste. I like that for lunch.

Mouth Feel: Very pleasant to the mouth. Almost meaty which is pleasing. I don’t appreciate a wimpy fish.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Lightly Smoked

Country: “Sustainable caught in the north Pacific” it says on the front. But then on the end in small print the box says “processed in Thailand” which isn’t the north Pacific. Whatevs.
Calories: 170

Ok, ladies, smile for the camera.
Hey, cute can.

Nose: A healthy, fresh fish smell hits you upon top popping. Nice.

These are some pretty fish. No really. Vitiligo aside, they look nice.

Fork Feel: They hold together well. They aren’t over packed and thus crushed into mealiness.

Tongue: I don’t get the smoke flavor that’s advertised on the box. Nor much flavor at all. They’re somewhat bland. I guess you could call it mild. Or you could call it boring.

Mouth Feel: I’m getting dry. How is an oily fish packed in oil dry? I’m disappointed.

Note: I’m always a bit leery of products that have the words “Planet” and “sustainable” and the like highlighted on them. I never know of they mean anything or are just marketing. For instance, why the paper sleeve for the metal can here? Other companies don’t need it.

All our cans get a special marketing wrapper that makes the mark up worthwhile.

Chicken on the Sea Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce

Country: Product of Poland
Calories: 120

Note: I go into this with some trepidation. I’m not a ‘hot sauce’ guy. This is due to two facts. One, I just don’t get ‘hot’ when it comes to food. What’s the point of heat? I never got it. Two, I always identified “hot sauce” with a certain chicken wing sucking, overbearing, frat boy, Midwestern backward baseball cap wearing, obnoxious aesthetic that I’d always found a bit off-putting.

But I saw this in the store and figured it was time to get past my bigotry. Plus, I’d garnered some courage recently at a Chinese hot pot restaurant when I survived some spicy broth. So here I go.

Nose: A touch of vinegar in the air but not as heavy as I was expecting.

Eye: Uh-oh, there’s red in my sardine can! And what looks to be a slice of onion and bits of…spicy. After a few bits I realize I’m just not a fan of red sardines. I just close my eyes and tuck in.

Fork Feel: They seem little softer. Maybe it’s the use of vinegar over oil. They’re still the same as my favorite can from yesterday. And thick feeling.

Tongue: They are not nearly as hot as I was fearing. I’ve changed my diet recently in a few ways and my taste buds have changed with it. Maybe it’s part of that. But I’m able to endure ‘hot’ better but this doesn’t seem that hot. It’s reminiscent of the taco sauce they used to give us back in middle school (when tacos were considered ethnic food) – a watered down, vinegary pepper sauce.

Mouth Feel: The sauce flavor lingers much longer than the sardine flavor. It repeats on me which is not office friendly. Thankfully I have no afternoon meetings today.

Chicken on the Sea Sardines in Oil and Lightly Smoked

Country: Product of Poland (why can’t they say caught in Poland?)
Calories: 150

Hello, old friend!

Note: This has been my go-to can of sardines for the past year. I’ve eaten it every week day. So it should be familiar but I’ve also eaten them mindlessly so paying them some attention will be new.

Nose: The oil is soybean – that stuff they grow in Indiana – so not much smell. There is a smokiness to it but it’s not like these went over a romantic smoldering process. It’s a “smoke” flavoring. Still ok.

Eye: Some good, honest looking cuts of sardines. Nothing too fancy. Skin and bones. They whacked the heads and tails for ya but otherwise, thems good, healthy eatin’.

A good, honest can of sardines.

Fork Feel: I like these because you can fork through both sides of the fish and there’s no risk of it falling off from can to mouth.

Tongue: This probably isn’t a good introductory sardine for most. You are eating and tasting the fish. The smoke highlights it and lifts it a bit. A touch salty which brings the fish forward even more. There is no other seasoning in the can.

Mouth Feel: The soybean oil helps me on the mouth feel as well as feeling full. A 150 calorie lunch only goes so far. They also don’t clean up this fish for those with delicate sensibilities so you get the complete sensory experience, which is nice.