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Crappy Canned Tuna at Whole Foods

oakjoan Aug 5, 2008 12:47 AM

I picked up 3 cans of tuna at Whole Foods in Oakland yesterday in order to make some tuna sandwiches. They were reasonably priced and I didn't see other tuna around - the shelf was pretty bare at 7 p.m. last night. The tuna was 2 cans of Albacore white tuna and 1 can of Tongol tuna (which was cheaper). Unfortunately, I didn't see any in olive oil or any other kind of oil. It really peeves me to pay $5 for a small can of tuna in olive oil at Berkeley Bowl, so I was happy to see these relative bargains at WF.

When I got home and opened the cans, the tuna WAS very light, but it was difficult to remove and some of it stuck to the side of the can like cement! I tasted it and it had almost no taste at all. I had to crumble it with my hands because the fork didn't do the trick.

After I added the mayo, yogurt, onions, celery, pickles, a bit of relish and some capers, I tasted it again and, although it tasted like a good salad dressing, there was no taste of tuna at all. I should mention that the brand was Whole Foods house brand.

I always dislike tuna in water, but sometimes have to buy it due to prohibitive cost of oil-packed tuna. This was a step in the wrong direction that made the water in the can seem blameless. This was awful stuff. At about $2 a can, it was also overpriced.

Has anybody else had problems with Whole Foods white meat tuna in water?

What is TONGOL tuna? It was cheaper.

Also, does anybody have any recs for brands of tuna in oil (or better tuna in water) that doesn't cost so much? My husband and I are suckers for tuna sandwiches when we want a quick supper after being out all day. These sandwiches were pretty bad, but we ate them anyway because they didn't actually taste awful, they tasted of capers, onions, mayo, relish, etc.



  1. h
    Humbucker Aug 5, 2008 06:24 AM

    I find that albacore tuna packed in water is generally pretty tasteless, whether from Whole Foods or other sources.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Humbucker
      drmimi Aug 5, 2008 06:51 AM

      Agree with the tasteless tuna. I've switched mainly to canned salmon-- more flavor, more calcium and less mercury...

    2. Robert Lauriston Aug 5, 2008 08:40 AM

      Tongol is a species of tuna, like albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack. I think it's the kind commonly used in Italian canned tuna, anyway it tastes the same.

      I buy Trader Joe's water-pack tongol. Very flavorful compared with most brands.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        Ruth Lafler Aug 5, 2008 01:41 PM

        Tongol is a tropical tuna; most tuna from the Mediterranean is either bonito or skipjack.

      2. farmersdaughter Aug 5, 2008 08:55 AM

        I have a can of that same 365 brand Chunk Light Tongol Tuna packed in Spring Water sitting in my pantry right now. I was going to make some this weekend. I hope it's not awful, but now I'm prepared for disappointment. I bought it because we were going away for the weekend with a group of friends to a rental house and wanted to have something for a quick and easy lunch one of the days, and it didn't get eaten, so I brought it back. Usually I buy canned tuna online from the Fishing Vessel St. Jude at tunatuna.com (they claim it is low mercury, sustainable, high omega 3), although I prefer imported Italian and Spanish oil packed tuna if I have my druthers.

        2 Replies
        1. re: farmersdaughter
          Robert Lauriston Aug 5, 2008 10:47 AM

          I bought that once. Not as good as Trader Joe's, and maybe twice the price.

          I like Italian tuna in oil (particularly Flott), but after I add olive oil to the TJ's tongol, the flavor's not that different, and I use better olive oil. The texture's not as unctuous, so I buy Flott occasionally, but it costs seven times as much.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            farmersdaughter Aug 5, 2008 12:19 PM

            If Flott is the one in the sunset colored can, check out the prices at Lucca Ravioli on Valencia next time you're there. I think their prices are pretty good.

        2. b
          baseballfan Aug 5, 2008 08:58 AM

          For good water packed tuna, try the Kirkland brand at Costco. It is the best canned (solid white albacore) tuna I have ever had. I think it comes 8 cans to a package but the price escapes me. Every other brand that I have tried tastes like cat food in comparison to this.

          1 Reply
          1. re: baseballfan
            juliasqueezer Aug 6, 2008 07:20 AM

            I have to chime in here to agree with baseballfan. Considering myself a bit of a white-tuna-in-water afficionado, I find the Kirkland brand the tastiest, with a nice texture. Unfortunately, the nearest Costco is at least a 25 mile drive (I live south of Detroit) so a friend picks up an 8-pack for me every time she goes. It's around $8.00 for an 8-pack. I had a Costco membership a couple of years ago, but realized any savings were being eaten up by the cost of fuel to get there and back, so I let it expire.

          2. JasmineG Aug 5, 2008 08:59 AM

            I like the Trader Joes' brand packed in oil the best, (of the cheap brands) and the kinds packed in water aren't bad. Though I just had a can of the TJ's packed in oil that was disappointing, I'm hoping that that was just an aberration.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JasmineG
              oakjoan Aug 5, 2008 12:24 PM

              I've also had some bad luck with TJ's canned tuna - both water and oil. I also buy Flott, as well as a brand that's a tad cheaper (gold and green can at BB), but I reallllly hate to spend almost (or more than in some cases) $5 for a small can of tuna. I'll have to try TJ's again.

              The stuff I bought yesterday at Whole Foods should come with a condolences card.

              1. re: oakjoan
                Robert Lauriston Aug 6, 2008 08:48 AM

                Most of TJ's tuna is bad. Look for the tongol.

            2. ipsedixit Aug 6, 2008 09:43 AM

              The Fresh & Easy canned tuna might be even worse than the TJ's one.

              As someone else said, the Costco/Kirkland canned tuna is by far the best. Good texture and taste, even though its packed in spring water.

              1. p
                P Macias Aug 6, 2008 07:46 PM

                I agree that water packed tuna is pretty bland, I often add an anchovy or two for a little zip.

                1 Reply
                1. re: P Macias
                  adamshoe Aug 8, 2008 11:43 AM

                  Starkist Gourmet Choice tuna fillet in EVOO for $1.50 a can @ Safeway!!! Can't beat the price and it has a nice tuna-ey (?) flavor. Adam in Oakland

                2. m
                  MJAnning Jan 2, 2009 01:15 PM

                  Crappy tuna, typical tuna, and WOW tuna. Since I opened my first can of WOW tuna, I've not been able to tolerate the crappy kind. The first good stuff I had was from Tri-Marine, sent to me by a friend in California. I opened the can, thinking I was going to make some tuna-noodles for supper. I stood there in the kitchen and ate the whole thing with a fork!

                  Did a little looking online and found a goldmine of suppliers:

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