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Jan 27, 2007 07:38 PM

canned sardines for a newbie

I've recently discovered that I really love canned sardines, after being wary of them for most of my life. So far, I've only had them over rice with a little soy sauce and/or hot sauce and/or lemon juice. Yum! I'm curious how my fellow hounds like to eat them and if there are favorite brands/styles I should seek out or avoid.

I recently saw "vintage" sardines being sold for a premium at the local store (Fairway in Manhattan). Old fish in a can? Is this worth trying?


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  1. What type of sardines did you buy that you liked?

    I asked the question for years about the best sardine and the answer was almost always ... they're all the same. I didn't buy that ... so I started buying different brands of sardines.

    I'm on my 54th can of sardines ... I'm doing Mexican sardines right now and for the most part ... ugh. The taste isn't so bad ... it's the texture ... kind of flabby.

    For my tastes Sardines from Spain & Portugual are the best. They have more of a tuna taste than the Brunswich / Bumble Bee type of sardine.

    The best mild 'classic' sardines are from Norway. Besides avoiding Mexican sardines, I wasn't too thrilled with what was packed in Thailand. Both Mexico & Thailand usually are packed in tomato sauce.

    Yeah, I'd love to get those Fairway sardines and give them a try. So far I'm aging a can of fancy French sardines. For all the rules about these sardines, I didn't like them too much in their unaged state ... they were sort of bitter ... Connetable Sardines entières à l’huile d’olive vierge extra - France

    Here's links to more info about aged sardines. One of the links says "Once they age, the flavors meld and become more complex, almost a non-fish thing, very nutty, deep, and enthralling"

    My favorite sardine to date is Angelo Parodi sardines. They are carried at most Italian markets or delis.

    I ate them plain, so can't help you there ... only hint ... if you get a can of sardines you don't like ... sriracha sauce will fix it.

    The best sardines are the sardines packed in olive oil or water. They are a better quality without sauces or spices to mask flaws. For flavored sardines CHECK THE LABEL !!!

    Especially for sardines of US origin. The US puts more junk and preservatives in sardines than any other country.

    Some sardines have a bitter taste to them. I think that happens when the tail is not cut off

    At this point, I would say that sardine quality can pretty much be determined my country of origin with the following ranking.

    The Philippines

    Here's my list ... excluding my slooooww current 'Mexican' phase.

    The Great Sardine Taste-off - wild, organic, Kosher, Polish, etc

    The Great Sardine Taste-off - best canned sardines - Next 7

    The Great Sardine Taste-off - the Sardine Saga continues (cans 31-39

    The Great Sardine Taste-off – the Spanish Saga (cans 40-49)


    1. Angelo Parodi Sardine Portoghesi all’olio di olivo – Portugal/Italy - $1.99
    2. Roland Sardines in Olive Oil - Morocco - $2.95
    3. BELA-Olhão lightly smoked sardines in olive oil. - Portugal - $1. 75
    4. Matiz Gallego sardines in olive oil - Spain - $2. 99
    5. Idamar Portuguese Sardines in olive oil - Portugal - $2. 25
    6. Gonsalves Sardines in olive oil – Portugal - $1.99
    7. Da Morgada Sardines in Pure Olive Oil - Portugal - $3. 99
    8. Albo Sardinas en aceite de oliva virgin extra – Spain
    9. Cabo de Penas Sardinillas en aceite de oliva - Spain
    10. El Corte Ingles Sardinas en aceite de oliva - Spain
    11. Palacio de`Oriente Sardinas en aceite de oliva - Spain
    12. Garavilla Sardinillas en aceite de oliva – Spain
    13. 5 Estrellas Grandes Hoteles Sardinillas en aceite de oliva - Spain
    14. Albo Sardines in Olive oil – Spain - $4.99
    15. King Oscar Sardines Mediterranean style – Norway, packed in Poland - $2.99
    16. Yankee Clipper lightly smoked sardines in soybean oil – Morocco - $2.49
    17. King Oscar Extra Small Sardines in fish oil 2 layers – Norway - $2.99
    18. Sardinas de la Costa en aceite de oliva - Spain
    19. Cuca Sardinas en aceite de oliva - Spain
    20. Connetable Sardines entières à l’huile d’olive vierge extra - France - $2. 95 (on sale, usually $4.50
    )21. BELA-Olhão lightly smoked sardines in cayenne pepper-flavored extra virgin olive oil. - Portugal - $1. 75
    22. Crown Prince One Layer Sardines in soy bean oil no Salt - Scotland - $1. 85
    23. Beach Cliff Sardines in soybean oil – USA / Canada - $.69
    24. Brunswick Sardines in Spring Water No Salt Added – Canada - $1.19
    25. Madrigal spiced sardines in vegetable oil – Morocco - $1.59
    26. Brunswick Sardines in Olive Oil – Canada - $1.19
    27. King Oscar Extra Small Brisling Sardines in purest virgin olive oil – Norway - $2.99
    28. King Oscar tiny tots Sardines in olive oil two layers – Norway - $2.99
    29. Bumble Bee sardines in tomato sauce - Mexico - $1. 29 (15 oz
    )30. Cracovia - Poland - $2. 55
    31. Palacio Real Small Sardines in Olive oil (slightly smoked) – Spain - $2.99
    32. BUMBLE BEE Sardines in Water – Poland - $.89
    33. King Oscar Sardines in pure spring water – Norway - $2.99
    34. BELA-Olhão lightly smoked sardines in lemon-flavored extra virgin olive oil. - Portugal - $1. 75
    35. Bumble Bee Sardines in Oil – Poland - $.99
    36. Paco Lafuente en aceite de oliva - Spain
    37. Mega Sardines in tomato sauce with chili – The Philippines - $.79
    38. Brunswick Sardines in Mustard Sauce – Canada - $1.19
    39. Bumble Bee Sardines in Mustard – Poland - $.89
    40. Yankee Clipper lightly smoked sardines in tomato sauce – Morocco - $2.49
    41. Yankee Clipper lightly smoked sardines in mustard sauce – Morocco - $2.49
    42. King Oscar Sardines in tomato – Norway - $2.99
    43. Brunswick Sardines in Mustard and Dill Sauce – Canada - $1.19
    44. King Oscar Skinless & boneless Sardines in olive oil – Morocco - $2.99
    45. Gourmet Award lightly smoked sardines in tomato sauce – Morocco - $1.89
    46. Pacific Star Lightly smoked sardines in vegetable oil - Thailand - $. 99
    47. Calmex sardines in tomato sauce - Mexico - $1. 19 (15 oz)
    48. Brunswick Sardines in tomato & basil Sauce – Canada - $1.19
    49. El Mexicano Sardinas en salsa de tomate con chile - Mexico - $1. 09 (15 oz)

    8 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      That is a terribly impressive post!

      Makes me want to run home to my sardines and compare the (sadly only) two types in my pantry.


      1. re: rworange

        Do you know where I can buy Angelo Parodi Sardine Portoghesi all’olio di olivo ?

        Thanks in advance,


        1. re: rworange

          Wow!! Thank you so much for sharing that!! I'll be printing this!

          1. re: rworange

            Great post. I will have to give sardines another try, since the last ones I tried were at best bland and almost mealy compared to , say, kippers.

            1. re: rworange

              Am I the only one terrified by this?
              Rworange is somewhere right now eating sardines and carefully recording data and observations.

              1. re: rworange

                My God- such devotion surely qualifies her for culinary sainthood no matter what faith she subscribes to!

                1. re: rworange

                  I live in the midwest and recently found that WalMart (sorry) carries the Poland brand of sardines. I bought a couple of cans and am happy to report that they're pretty darn good! They were large, boneless and (I think) lightly smoked, packed in olive oil and I couldn't eat them fast enough.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Holy cow! I mean fish! My dad ate them mashed on saltines, and it looked disgusting, but I am re-evaluating my position. I have certainly been impressed with some tuna and anchovies! And son in college with no kitchen is looking for protein. Hmmmmm.

                  2. I get 15oz cans of Calgirl with tomato and chilli,eat with bread and butter.Cheap too only around a dollar.I like the ones packed in cottenseed oil too,have a hard time finding them for some reason.Another thing i've found recentlly are Sprats you can get them at alot of Russian or Asian stores there like a sardine but smaller and if you get them smoked in cottenseed oil there gooood.

                    1. Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Moroccan sardines in olive oil are all just fine to me. I like to mash a can of them onto a slice of rather dry sourdough bread smeared with a little butter, top with another slice spread with some mayonnaise and maybe mustard, and if you're feeling really antisocial put some slivers of onion in there too. I also like to break up a can of them into a container of cottage cheese, stir in a little mayo and some chopped green onion and scoop it out with some kind of indulgent cracker, like Ritz. Oh, man - that's lunch.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Will Owen

                        My Moroccan friends dump the good olive oil ones on a little plate and cover them in (mild) onion - such as red onion. They eat this with bread, like a tagine.

                      2. Avocado and sardines are a great combo. Put 'em on sliced sourdough or whole wheat with a little mayo and lettuce and savor away.

                        I prefer sardines in a can bearing the name and/or likeness of some member of Scandinavian royalty.

                        1. F.S., There is a specialty shop in Paris that specializes in aged, canned sardines. Recently I've discovered some sardines from Spain that are remarkable.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Walters

                            Hi Walters,

                            Do you have the address of the Parisian shop that specializes in aged, canned sardines? Thanks!